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Image-based abuse recognised in new guidelines

By Samantha Follows

Published In: Personal Injury, Child Abuse

The government has cracked down on image-based abuse. This was summarised in a blog shared earlier this year, addressing the change in case law and the evolving area of claims for image-based abuse.

Photo of sad young woman holding mobile phone

Image-based abuse is where intimate images or videos are shared without consent.

Legal professionals (including judges) use the Judicial College (JC) guidelines to help them to value claims for compensation. The JC Guidelines were first published in 1992 and provide guidelines for damages for personal injury. The 17th edition has been published and claims for physical and sexual abuse are dealt with in the section covering psychiatric and damage. Injury following image-based abuse has been included for the first time in this section, which means that the Guidelines for abuse can also be applied to these cases.

There are four categories (up from three in the previous edition) ranging from less severe (£11,870 - £25,100) to severe (109,830 - £183,050).  The figures include damages for the abuse itself as well as any psychiatric injury caused.

Of particular interest for image-based abuse cases are the factors to be taken into consideration when valuing damages, which include an abuse of trust. An additional sum for injury to feelings can also be considered if there are aggravating factors (something which makes the abuse more serious).  These include the nature of the abuse and the level of abuse of trust.

It is easy to see how this would be of relevance to image-based abuse cases where the defendant has a relationship with the victim, for example by posting an intimate photo online without consent.

The addition of image-based abuse to the Guidelines is to be welcomed. It reflects the growing number of cases in this area and will aid judges in assessing damages given the limited established case law on this subject (due to it being a developing area).

Samantha Follows has experience of dealing with claims in this area of the law. If you would like to contact her confidentially email or call 0800 138 0458 

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Samantha qualified as a Solicitor in 1996 and has worked in the area of Child Abuse Compensation for 22 years

Associate Solicitor

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