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VOYEURISMVoyeurism is gaining sexual pleasure from watching or recording other people engaged in sex and/ or intimate behaviour or other activities of a private nature. Voyeurism, by its nature, implies that one party doesn't consent to the activity but can be a legitimate form of sexual expression if ALL parties give consent.

The law

Introduced in 2019, an offence committed under the Voyeurism Offences Act must meet the following criteria:

  • The aim of the voyeur is sexual pleasure or gratification.
  • No consent is given by the person being watched/ observed and/ or filmed.
  • The voyeurism is specifically aimed at genitalia or underwear.

The Act explicitly addresses ‘upskirting’, which is a variation of voyeurism which refers to taking photos or videos underneath a person’s clothing. This usually occurs in public places with the intention of sexual pleasure/ gratification and/ or to embarrass/ humiliate a person.

Get professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Know your rights when questioned and/ or arrested. Anything you say may be used as evidence against you, and others.

Examples of voyeurism

  • Recording someone in a private act; eg: filming a person(s) having sex. This includes sex parties.
  • Installing camera equipment with the intention of recording someone in a private act; eg: in a bedroom, toilet, or bathroom. This includes sex parties.
  • Watching someone in a private act; eg: a person(s) through a window.

A private act is what a reasonable person would only do in private; eg: being naked or having sex by themselves and/ or with another person(s).

Cause for concern

Voyeurism may be a cause for concern, and you may need professional help, if you:

  • Violate a person’s expectation of privacy in their home, a gym, or a similar area.
  • Watch a person engage in sexual activity without their consent.
  • Begin filming or photographing another person without their permission.
  • Enter an area illegally in order to watch people.
  • Feel frustrated or stressed when you can’t engage in these behaviours.
  • Experience feelings of guilt after engaging in these behaviours.
  • You can’t get sexually aroused without watching others
  • You can’t resist voyeuristic activities, even when they harm your well-being.

Understanding Voyeurism | Healthline | US


Sexual Offences Act 2003; 71. Sexual activity in a public lavatory | GOV UK
Section 5(3) Criminal Law Act 1977 | GOV UK
Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 | GOV UK
DBS checks | MIND

Police warnings, cautions and fines | MENRUS.CO.UK
Sex and consent | MENRUS.CO.UK

Cottaging | Wikipedia
Cruising | Wikipedia
Voyeurism | Wikipedia

1982. Gay London Police Monitoring Group (GALOP) | Gay in the 80s
GALOP Annual Report 1984 | PDF | GALOP

Homophobic man obsessed with extreme violence guilty of cemetery hammer murder | Metro | 23 Mar 2023
Back to nature: a potted history of queer cruising | The Face | 21 Jul 2022
Three found guilty of murdering Cardiff doctor in homophobic attack | The Guardian | 3 Feb 2022
Five men charged with public sex acts relating to M&S bathroom gay cruising spot | 22 Jul 2021
The Origins of Cruising | Medium | US | 19 Jun 2020
Three teens arrested after Brighton homophobic assault | The Argus | 30 Nov 2021
Why do so many gay men still go cruising and cottaging? | Attitude | 17 Aug 2017
Gay man's killing 'tip of the iceberg' | BBC News | 2005

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