Judge Awards £100,000 in ‘Revenge Porn’ Civil Case

Rachel Horman Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors

In what is believed to be the fist case of its kind to come before the civil courts in England & Wales, a woman has been awarded almost £100,000 in damages after her former partner had (unbeknown to her) recorded her naked then proceeded to publish the content online.

The woman, who is not named was awarded £60,000 in general damages and an additional £37,041.61 for consequential financial losses relating to the attack on her privacy.

The judge lamented the term ‘Revenge Porn’, indicating that she felt the phrase ‘Conveys the impression that the victim somehow deserved what happened to them’.
Therefore, the term that was suggested & used by counsel in this scenario was ‘Image-based abuse’.

The case was brought to light due to the claimant discovering a microscopic camera concealed in the bathroom of her home, as well as her witnessing her photos on a pornographic website.
Stuart Gaunt had previously been convicted of voyeurism and other sexual offences in 2020 and had received a two-year suspended sentence on top of being placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years!

In the case, the judge ruled that the claimant and Mr Gaunt were in a ‘professional and intimate’ relationship and that the images in question, though not of sexual activity, could still be deemed as ‘intimate’.

Speaking on the matter, the judge found the likelihood of the images having been replicated elsewhere was high and it would be near enough certain that there would be 20 or more images that could be viewed.
Whilst also adding that the available evidence had indicated that the defendant obtained payment for uploading such images.

Unfortunately, due to the stress the case had placed upon the claimant, she had suffered from Chronic PTSD and the case was considered one of a minority in which PTSD becomes Chronic over several years, causing visible personality change.

Therefore, the judge accepted that the impacts on the claimant are akin to the impacts of sexual assault, but image based.

On the awarding of the general damages, the judge concluded that aggravating features included the ‘needless uploading of a photograph of the claimant’s face onto the Pornographic website and the evidence that suggested the defendant accepted payment for the images.

Here’s What Head of Family Law Rachel Horman-Brown Had To Say On The Case –

‘I am pleased that the judge acknowledged the devastating psychological impact that this type of crime has on victims. Many victims are unaware that they can receive compensation for the abuse they have suffered from the perpetrator provided he has sufficient income or capital to pay. We have obtained hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation payments for victims of abuse including on behalf of their children and I would encourage all victims to seek advice about this quickly as there are time limits attached to many claims’

We Also Asked Litigation Executive David Watson For His Expert Insight

‘I welcome this case which gives confidence to victims that the civil courts recognise the serious and long-lasting impact upon victims. It is important to take advice at the earliest opportunity, even if either a police investigation is ongoing or no charges have been brought, as there are limitations on these claims and delays can prevent vital evidence from being preserved. These claims are often seen as part of a wider pattern of domestic abuse, and victims can approach us safe in the knowledge we will act with sensitivity and compassion’

We've Got Your Back

If you need advice or assistance in regard to this, or any aspect of Family Law, we can help. Call Rachel on 01254 67 22 22, email enquiries@watsonramsbottom.com, talk to us via live chat or complete our online enquiry form and one of our experts will contact you.
Adapted from https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/first-revenge-porn-civil-case-sees-judge-award-100000/5115274.article

Leave a Reply