McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Psychological Damages Review

The law has been unkind to those in the past who have not suffered any psychical injury and suffered solely psychological harm.

Damages for "sexting" have been awarded for the first time in English Courts. Mr William Whillock, who was a former vice-principal of The New School in West Heath, Kent, was handed a three-year community order in 2010 after admitting possessing indecent images of a female teenage pupil who he encouraged to send sexually-charged pictures.

The victim, now aged 23 and who cannot be named for legal reasons, has successfully sued for compensation for the psychiatric harm caused and the Court awarded her damages of £25,000.

It is quite rightly an offence for an adult to possess and send indecent pictures of children. The abuse could have a serious impact on the child for the rest of their life, especially if the photos are made available to the worldwide through social media.

Adam Horner, personal injury specialist at McHale & Co commented: “This case establishes that anybody who unwillingly received unwanted sexually-explicit text messages or images can now bring a claim for compensation. This is something that needs regulating by the big players such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Instagram. There are over a billion active Facebook users and over 500 million tweets are sent each day. Social media if used appropriately and in a controlled way can be great but those susceptible to misuse need protecting. I would fully support a campaign to educate vulnerable children who are manipulated into such activity.

The law has always recognised that adults who send inappropriate communications to children can be prosecuted, however it never really considered that those affected should be able to recover compensation for their suffering.

Victims may need private professional help to reduce the frequency of flashbacks and to help with any future relationships. It is important that these victims have the opportunity to obtain this and this can be achieved through compensating them”.

If you need a personal injury specialist get in touch with our APIL accredited experts by email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk or phone 0161 928 3848.

Categories: Personal Injury

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