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HomeUKThe Crown Prosecution Service aims to eradicate street harassment by filing prosecutions.

The Crown Prosecution Service aims to eradicate street harassment by filing prosecutions.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, even isolated occurrences of “cat-calling” could be considered violations of current public order regulations.

New guidance to prosecutors in England and Wales states that perpetrators of sexual harassment on the street can and will be prosecuted.

The CPS issued a warning against “sexually threatening or abusive” remarks.

“Feeling safe should not be a luxury for women,” stated Siobhan Blake, the CPS’s top prosecutor for rape and violent crimes.

The crown prosecution service aims to eradicate street harassment by filing prosecutions.
The crown prosecution service aims to eradicate street harassment by filing prosecutions.

Additionally, the government is proposing stricter street harassment regulations. It has initiated a consultation on expanding existing legislation to make it illegal to intentionally harass, frighten, or distress someone based on their sexual orientation.

However, the Home Office now thinks that existing criminal offenses properly address public abuse.

Due to an increased focus on women’s safety in public areas in the wake of events such as the murder of Sarah Everard last year, the CPS has chosen to revise the advice it delivers to its staff on the present rules.

The new guidance emphasizes that public order laws can be used to prosecute even for “one-time, less serious remarks.”

“Examples include inappropriate sexual comments… if it cannot be proven that the perpetrator intended to create harassment, alarm, or distress,” according to the advice.

In incidents of unwelcome touching on the street or in public transportation, authorities are not required to prove “intentional sexuality,” according to the guidance.

A 2019 prohibition on up-skirting and new legislation prohibiting voyeurism while a woman breastfeeds a kid are also highlighted by the CPS.

Cases of “cyber-flashing,” in which criminals send vulgar comments or pornographic photos over Bluetooth to surrounding others, should be treated similarly to social media abuse.

This would require determining if the messages were offensive and meant to cause distress.

The guidance states that stalking and harassment laws should only be applied when an offender makes persistent attempts to target a victim.

The CPS feels that a defined approach to abusive behavior on the street will make it easier for victims to file complaints.

Ms. Blake stated that nearly three-quarters of women had experienced “this nasty behavior.”

Equally disturbing is the fact that relatively few instances of sexual harassment in public are reported.

“The law makes it plain that exposing oneself, attempting to take inappropriate photographs, or making you feel frightened on the street are offenses that cannot be overlooked.”

Everyone has the freedom to use public transportation, dance at a festival, and roam the streets without fear of harassment.


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