Perverts who photograph breastfeeding women without permission could face up to two years in jail under moves being considered by ministers.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is looking at broadening a law which came into force in 2019 to combat ‘upskirting’.
The Voyeurism Act made it illegal to take a photograph under someone’s clothing without their consent but it does not specifically cover women who have to remove garments to feed an infant.
Now Mr Raab may widen the law following a campaign led by Labour MP Stella Creasy who said she had been photographed while feeding her baby daughter on a train in north London.
A Ministry of Justice source said: ‘It is under consideration but is still at an early stage.’
Mr Raab may widen the law following a campaign led by Labour MP Stella Creasy (pictured) who said she had been photographed while feeding her baby daughter on a train in north London
Miss Creasy said earlier this year she was breastfeeding her then four-month-old on a train near Highbury and Islington, north London, when she noticed a teenage boy laughing and taking pictures.
‘He had his phone out and I thought he was playing with his phone, and then I realised with horror that he was taking photos,’ she said.
‘You feel exposed. I don’t think he can have got very much of a picture, but the sheer horror at the point when you’re focused on trying to support your newborn baby... and somebody is doing that, it was vile.
‘Because I felt quite vulnerable, I just got off my train as soon as I could.’
The MP has also been contacted by 32-year-old Julia Cooper who saw a man taking photographs of her with a long-lens camera while she was breastfeeding with other mums in Sale Water Park, Greater Manchester.
The Voyeurism Act made it illegal to take a photograph under someone’s clothing without their consent but it does not specifically cover women who have to remove garments to feed an infant. A stock image is used above [File photo]
‘He had attached a telephoto lens to an SLR camera, and was trying to get close up photos of my breast,’ she said earlier this year.
‘I was shaking, I felt so violated.’
She said she asked the man to delete the pictures but he refused, saying he had broken no laws.
Miss Cooper told police about the incident but they confirmed it was not illegal.
‘I don’t want this to happen to me, other women, or my daughter if she chooses to have kids,’ she said.
Miss Creasy has been working with Miss Cooper’s MP Jeff Smith on a campaign, under the slogan ‘Stop the Breast Pest’.
‘Unfortunately there’re some very creepy people out there who think they have a right to photograph women when breastfeeding for their own enjoyment, and that’s not acceptable,’ Miss Creasy said.