Taking photos of breastfeeding mothers to be made illegal in England and Wales

Taking a photograph of a mother breastfeeding their child without their consent is to be made a crime in England and Wales.

As per reports, Julia Cooper was breastfeeding her baby in a park when a man on another bench got out his camera, attached a zoom lens and took a picture. She was “shocked and devastated” to find the police could do nothing about it because no crime had been committed at the time. Manchester-based designer Julia Cooper began the campaign to make taking pictures of breastfeeding mothers illegal after her own experience in a local park last April 2021.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the move would stop women being “pestered, whether it’s for self-gratification or for harassment purposes”. Campaigners welcomed the decision, calling it “a victory for breastfeeding mothers”. The law will form part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill going through Parliament. Mr.Raab also confirmed another amendment to the bill to give victims of domestic abuse more time to report crimes to police, and “plug gaps” in the law that risks offenders escaping justice. Ms Cooper said she was “delighted” by the move, despite what she described as “too-ing and fro-ing from government” on the issue. “It is a victory for breastfeeding mothers and it will provide the reassurance that we can breastfeed in public without strangers freely photographing and filming us as they wish.

It will make a new offence of “recording images of, or otherwise observing, breastfeeding without consent or a reasonable belief as to consent” and to be found guilty, the perpetrator “must be acting for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification or of humiliating, alarming or distressing the victim”. The other amendment being made to the same bill focuses on extending the six-month time limit victims of common assault face in England and Wales when it comes to reporting the crime.

Source : bbc.com