France is to ban 'upskirting', inspired by Britain's proposed law against taking photos under women's skirts or dresses without their permission, and similar legislation in Canada and Belgium.

A bill on sexual violence and street harassment has been amended to make "filming improper images" a criminal offence punishable by a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of nearly £27,000.

Senators passed the amendments by a large majority after it emerged that 'upskirting' was becoming increasingly common in France, especially on trains and buses.

Many women have complained on social networks of attempts to film -under their skirts. Some said they had called police but no action was taken against the culprits, many of whom are believed to have posted their footage online.


One victim posted on Twitter: "Urgent please: A guy filmed under my skirt in a shopping centre. We called the police. Can you tell me what I can do?"

Marion, 29, said a man had tried to film her in the Paris Métro.

"He was -sitting opposite me and I saw him -trying to film under my skirt with his -mobile phone. I raised my voice and told him to stop... He did... muttering and staying calmly in his seat."

According to a survey, half of all women in France wear trousers on public transport to avoid harassment.

Some say they have taken to wearing shorts under their skirts to defend themselves against 'upskirting'.

One woman, Adèle, told Le Parisien that she had grabbed and broken the phone of a man who filmed her on the Métro.

One 17-year-old said she had felt violated -after being filmed on an escalator in a shopping centre.

'Upskirting' is already illegal in Belgium, but police say few women report it to the police.


Olivier Slosse, a Brussels police spokesman, urged more women to report 'upskirting' or voyeurism.

"We only get about 20 complaints a year for this kind of voyeurism," he said.

"It's important for the victims to come forward because they are the victims of an illegal act and it's important for us because these crimes are under-reported and it helps draw our attention to them."

A proposed law to ban 'upskirting' was blocked in the UK by Sir Christopher Chope, a senior Tory MP.

Prime Minister Theresa May has since revealed plans to push the law through.