A woman has been awarded £25,000 in damages for the psychological harm she suffered as a result of being encouraged to send indecent images of herself to a teacher when she was a teenager. 

William Whillock (62) was convicted in 2010 of possessing indecent images of the teenager, and was handed a three-year community sentence as a result of being found guilty of this crime.

Whilst the sentence has been criticised as being too lenient, the victim (then 16) has gone on to set a legal precedent in September this year, having successfully sued Whillock for the psychological harm she suffered.

The victim’s case was that she had been groomed into sending indecent images, some explicit, to Whillock, who was the vice principal at her school and had built a rapport with her. Whillock was also the child protection officer at the school, which is an independent special-needs school. Clearly Whillock abused his position of trust as the vice principal, but more so as the child protection officer, in having encouraged the young girl to send compromising pictures of herself.

‘Sexting’, a widely known practice amongst the younger generation, is becoming more prevalent. The landmark case highlights just how harmful ‘sexting’ can be to a young person’s psychological well-being and self-esteem. Being encouraged to send such pictures will no doubt have a detrimental affect to a victim’s self worth, however this case proves that the harmful effects go beyond that — and are comparable now to other acts of grooming and sexual exploitation.

It is encouraging to see that this precedent has been set, and we hope that it will enlighten young people as to the effects of sending these images. If however, you feel you have been influenced to send indecent images of yourself to someone else, and have suffered harm as a result, contact the expert team of lawyers at Jordans Solicitors for confidential help and advice.

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