New remedies for abuse victims

March 7th 2023

The case of FGX v Gaunt attracted attention in the mainstream press this week after the Claimant was awarded £97,041.61 in damages against Mr Gaunt. He uploaded naked images of her to a pornographic website, the photos having been taken without her knowledge. He had been convicted of a number of sexual offences as a result and did not engage with this court case.

The Claimant, who was entitled to anonymity, had suffered psychiatric and psychological harm as a result of this act and was entitled to damages as a result, including a sum to enable her to remove the images posted online. It is likely that more damages were awarded because of the Defendant’s failure to engage, as that made removing the images harder.

This is the first award of its kind, but doubtless more will follow. Family practitioners, who may be the first professionals victims seek help from, will need to stay alert to the harm being caused to victims and consider all available options.

“Revenge porn” as it has been known, has been a criminal offence since Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 came into force. Those acting for the Claimant invited the judge, Mrs Justice Thornton, to avoid the term “revenge porn” because it suggests that a victim has done something wrong. The judge agreed, a more appropriate term is “image-based abuse”.