• March 2, 2024
 Image-based abuse: Woman awarded £97k damages

Image-based abuse: Woman awarded £97k damages

A woman has been awarded £97,000 in damages as part of a civil case following the covert recording and subsequent sharing of naked images by her former partner.

In FGX v Stuart Gaunt [2023] EWHC 419 (KB), the court heard the claimant “found a microscopic camera concealed in the bathroom at home”. Using the camera, Gaunt, the defendant, had filmed her in three different ways:

  • In the bathroom while she was naked and cleaning the bathroom before showering
  • While she was showering
  • While she slept topless

The claimant then discovered Gaunt had uploaded the images onto a pornographic website, alongside a photograph of her face so she could be recognised. She located screenshots of payment platform websites, from which she inferred that Gaunt had profited from uploading the images.

In criminal proceedings in 2020, Gaunt was convicted of voyeurism and other sexual offences. He received a two-year suspended sentence and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

The court found Gaunt’s conduct to have caused the claimant to suffer from chronic PTSD., being “one of a minority of cases in which PTSD becomes chronic over several years, causing an enduring personality change”.

It was also said that the “continued existence of the images online is a significant source of ongoing distress to the Claimant and a barrier to her recovery”. As well as this, the claimant has “lost trust in people and become reclusive, to the extent of changing her job and refraining from personal relationships”.

The court subsequently awarded the claimant with £60,000 in general damages for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity, as well as £37,041.61 in special damages to cover consequential financial losses such as the cost of removing the images from the internet.

Mrs Justice Thornton DBE also made the point that the term “revenge porn” – often used to describe such cases – implies the victim somehow deserved what happened to them, and therefore implored counsel to use the term “image-based abuse”.

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Family Lawyer

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer

Contact

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *