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Is it illegal to take photos of a minor without permission?

(26 Posts)
Jux Thu 31-Jan-13 15:41:10

There are a couple of girls at dd's school who are persistently trying to take photos of her, though she's asked them not to many times. They will throw pens at her to get her to turn round etc. Obviously there's more to it than that, in that the girls are bullying her to the extent that other pupils are reporting it to teachers, tutor and HoY.

Anyway, this latest thing with the photos: dh thinks that if they were to publish a pic of dd to the web that it would be actionable, and he also thinks that taking photos of her without permission is too. They're all in Y9 - 13/14 yo.

We have been very careful about pix of dd on the web, partly because she was stalked by a local man for a while (years ago now, all sorted) so she has none on her fb profile, or anywhere it would be that easy to find.

CashmereHoodlum Thu 31-Jan-13 15:44:40

If she is in a public place it is not illegal. However, this sounds like harassment. Put pressure on the school to deal with it properly. If they can't put a stop to it, the police can.

CashmereHoodlum Thu 31-Jan-13 15:45:14

Just to clarify, school is obviously not a public place!

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 31-Jan-13 15:50:33

No it isn't illegal. Depending on circumstances it could be deemed invasion if privacy but a lot friends on what the scho rules say as its their property.

Iggly Thu 31-Jan-13 15:53:43

No I don't think photo taking is illegal - its the publishing or sharing without permission that is.

What are the school doing?

LifeofPo Thu 31-Jan-13 15:55:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeadFairy Thu 31-Jan-13 15:59:49

if she's on private property they do have to get permission of not only the parent but also the property owner to publish the photos... but I can't imagine it'll be easy to enforce. However as they would be essentially breaking the law it should be easier to get the school to take some kind of action surely?

lottiegarbanzo Thu 31-Jan-13 15:59:50

No, neither is publishing them. A lot of people imagine it is.

Newspapers for example are free to publish pictures of people at an event, 'a girl enjoying the warm weather' etc. Seeking permission is just a courtesy. You don't own your image. A photographer does own their picture.

HeadFairy Thu 31-Jan-13 16:13:32

lottie Does that not only apply if the picture is taken on private property. I work in tv (don't do camera work now, but used to many moons ago) and I know that our defence if someone didn't like us filming was that we're allowed to film anyone on public land, however if that person was under 16 we had to get their parent's permission to use the pictures (I have filmed a lot of the backs of school kids heads for this very reason)

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 31-Jan-13 16:16:33

I still think its courtesy only. We went to an event where dd got to meet done west end stars. By chance I cdje across done pics of her online taken by the official photographer. She was 8.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 31-Jan-13 16:24:58

The freedom to publish could be images on public property yes, not sure about private property.

Did you really have to get parents' permission, or just choose to, or do so only if they realised and objected? I can't believe that news reporters have to ask permisission of parents of under-16s who wander through the background of a shot. They'd be chasing phone numbers and doing re-takes all day. It would make reporting in public impossible, surely?

HeadFairy Thu 31-Jan-13 18:01:54

lottie You'd be surprised. I don't think we have to extend to asking every child wandering in the background of a shot, but if they are identifiable then yes we do. Generally though when I was in cameras we just made sure we didn't film children. Picture editors too make sure they don't use shots of children that are too identifiable, especially if we're saying something particularly litigious at the time (ie talking about truantism or similar) over the shots.

STIDW Thu 31-Jan-13 18:29:08

There is a lot of mythological thinking about photos of children in schools. Taking photos isn't unlawful and consent isn't required - see Jonathan Mitchell QC's [ blog] However seeking consent is a condition insisted upon by insurers and many organisations have a policy of not photographing children without parental consent.

Nonetheless continually pestering someone by taking photographs can amount to harassment.

STIDW Thu 31-Jan-13 18:29:54

Jux Thu 31-Jan-13 19:27:00

Thank you, all. Dh basically wants to tell the HoY that he will take action in some way if the girls don't stop, and that could be against the school and (his preference) against the girls themselves. This is because he thinks the school won't really be able to do much which won't impact adversely on dd, and he thinks if the girls/parents think there is a threat of legal action it will have more effect on them and less on dd.

I have no idea, tbh. What I really want to know is why the HoY thinks it is sufficient to be aware of it.

EldritchCleavage Thu 31-Jan-13 19:36:09

It's not illegal, whether or not on private property.

But it is actionable (i.e. you can sue) in harassment for the picture taking and any publication.

If the photos were published on the web or passed around you could look into sueing for misuse of private information.

Jux Thu 31-Jan-13 22:12:16

Thank you Eldritch. Personally, I think taking legal action against the children is a bit much, and we don't know whether any picture they might have got has been published either. DD keeps her head down literally when they're around.

Still, a bit of a threat to the school might help them stop it.

LifeofPo, yes they're using phones, no I have no idea why they aren't confiscated. More to chuck at HoY!

lottiegarbanzo Thu 31-Jan-13 22:28:59

Anyway, I don't think action over images is the issue, their behaviour is and I hope you get it sorted out with the school.

Jux Thu 31-Jan-13 22:57:02

Agreed, Lottie, but dh likes to be able to get heavy if he feels it's necessary. The HoY is quite new to his position, not to the school, and I have been wondering whether it's not working out quite as he intended or hoped, as he seems to sometimes be heavy handed, and sometimes very hands off.

perfectstorm Fri 01-Feb-13 01:01:58

The photo taking may not be in and of itself, but harassment is.

Prohibition of harassment.(1)A person must not pursue a course of conduct?(a)which amounts to harassment of another, and(b)which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.(2)For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.

Admittedly using that against a kid would be almost impossible, realistically speaking. But the kids, usefully, won't know that. And nor, possibly, would their HoY. Being able to point out that bullying of this nature is so frowned upon it's actually criminally actionable might be useful, maybe? I do think bullying is almost normalised amongst kids, in way no adult would ever deem acceptable. Kids are controlled in most ways more than adults would ever accept, yet when it's inter-peer hazing, they're expected to tolerate behaviour that would get you sacked in any well run workplace.

Jux Fri 01-Feb-13 08:27:36

It is strange, isn't it? I was hit round the head at least weekly all through primary by my class teacher, so at least that sort of thing has been stopped! Things have improved for children in school, in many ways.

Jiddle Fri 01-Feb-13 12:00:28

I think your DH is looking at this from the wrong angle. As others have said, it's not unlawful to take photos of children in a public place. Photos taken in a private place may offend the child's Article 8 rights under the ECHR but even if this is the case, you wouldn't have a cause of action against the school, and you're not going to sue a child.

There is no legal "right to privacy" in England, only Article 8 rights.

I would be looking at the school's anti-bullying policy and whether or not the school is taking appropriate action to comply with its policy. Ultimately if you want to threaten legal action you need to find something to pin on the school rather than the offending children.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 01-Feb-13 12:30:12

You don't talk about your discussions with the school about the bullying to date.

I really think you need to go in with a constructive attitude and seek to work with the school to eliminate the problem. Going in ready to threaten the school doesn't sound likely to set you up in the right frame of mind to listen to each other and work together effectively.

Maybe you feel you've exhausted every co-operative option already but you don't say this.

Jux Sat 02-Feb-13 00:54:31

Statements were being taken from all children who had reported it to various teachers before HoY was going to talk to the girls in question. He spoke to dd this morning, then to dh, then to one other child, and then the girls.

The girls have apologised to dd, she thinks it was heartfelt.

The school - all Y9 teachers, but probably by the end of Monday they'll all know - will be keeping a close eye. The girls are being punished. We are OK with how it is being dealt with, but will monitor.

There seem to be quite a lot of pupils who were aware and reported. The phone thing was new and it was that dh wanted advice on. I didn't talk about the other bullying because I didn't need advice on it.

Thanks all.

Jiddle Sat 02-Feb-13 07:12:12

Glad to hear the school is taking it seriously, OP, I feel very sorry for your DD. I hope school gets better for her.

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