A ground-breaking decision to award damages for “sexting” means anyone manipulated into sending or receiving a sexually-explicit message or image and suffers psychological harm as a result can now bring a compensation claim.
The legal precedent was set in the case of a former vice principal of an independent special needs school in Sevenoaks, Kent.
William Whillock was convicted in the criminal courts of possessing indecent photographs of a child and sentenced to a three-year community order in 2010 after he encouraged a female pupil to send him naked images of herself.
However, the victim, now 23, recently sued for the harm suffered, successfully claiming during the subsequent trial that the damage caused by Whillock was serious and long-lasting. The judge awarded her £25,000 in compensation.
The BBC reported that although the texts and images themselves were not directly intended to cause her harm, the court found there are some consequences of conduct that are so obvious “the perpetrator cannot realistically say that the consequences were unintended”.
This means anyone involved in sexting another person needs to be sure that person is psychologically robust, is not vulnerable and is consenting to the exchange of messages and images.
The decision could have significant consequences given the popularity of apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp, which allow smart phone users to quickly and easily send images.
How can our personal injury lawyers help you?
If you have been a victim in similar circumstances, Gotelee Solicitors, with offices in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Hadleigh, can help.
Our Personal Injury solicitors can assess your claim and the prospects of obtaining compensation quickly.
The firm has a wealth of experience in offering care and guidance in sensitive cases and is partnered with Ipswich charity Survivors in Transition, which helps victims cope with the ongoing effects of abuse.
Gotelee boasts a team of experts, including doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists and specialist barristers.
To find out more, call Gotelee Solicitors on 01473 298125 or email [email protected].