Image-based sexual abuse compensation

Compensation guidelines published for image-based sexual abuse

The newly published Judicial College Guidelines recognises image-based sexual abuse compensation for the first time.

The 17th Edition of the judicial compensation guidelines, published in March 2024, has been refined to specifically recognise victims who have been caused psychiatric harm through image-based sexual abuse. This follows on from the 16th Edition, published in April 2022, which set out specific categories within the category of psychiatric harm for victims of sexual abuse.

Image-based sexual abuse, commonly referred to as ‘revenge porn’, arises when an individual shares sexually explicit images or videos of another without their consent. They can be shared in the following ways:-

  • Uploading the content to the internet
  • Sharing the content on social media
  • Sharing the content via text messages or email
  • Physically showing the content to another

The offender will often share this content for revenge, financial gain, to control the victim, or for social status.

Often, the victim may not be aware that the image or video has been taken of them until it has been shared. The victim may have been coerced or freely sent an image of themselves to another, but did not provide consent for it to be shared further.

Disclosing private sexual photographs or videos with intent to cause harm or distress became a criminal offence in England and Wales under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act in 2015. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 amended this legislation to also include the threat of disclosure. Further offences were introduced by The Online Safety Act 2023, including ‘cyberflashing’ and ‘deepfakes’ where images are generated using AI software. Despite current legislation, crimes of this nature are rising and more people are falling victim to these offences.

The newly published judicial guidelines are used to assess compensation in personal injury cases. The guidelines provide different brackets for compensation, dependent on the level of recognisable psychiatric harm suffered by the victim.

Psychiatric harm arising from sexual abuse also takes into account any injury to feelings caused by the abuse itself, any denial of offences made by the offender, and the need for the victim to relive the matter in court or other proceedings.  Other factors taken into account are the severity and duration of the abuse, along with how this has impacted the victim’s ability to cope with education, work, and general life.

Our team of specialist abuse lawyers have a track-record of success in recovering compensation for victims of sexual abuse. If you are the victim of sexual abuse then you can contact our free, confidential helpline for a case assessment.

For expert guidance on making an image-based sexual abuse claim, contact us in confidence for a free case assessment and details of no win, no fee funding. Call freephone 0333 888 0445 or email us at [email protected]

Image-based sexual abuse compensation