Are You a Crime Victim? You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Ordeal


Crime victims often feel that they are forgotten by the legal system once perpetrators have been caught and punished. However, as a High Court ruling showed, a phone call to a solicitor may be all that is needed to start a process which in many cases yields a substantial award of compensation.

The case concerned a woman who, when she was a teenager, attended a pain clinic on 10 occasions. The doctor who treated her used concealed camera equipment to take intimate videos of her without her knowledge or consent. He was some years later convicted of voyeurism and other offences and sentenced to 14 and a half years’ imprisonment.

The criminal proceedings, however, did not mark the end of the matter and the woman later launched a personal injury claim against him, alleging misuse of private information. A default judgment was entered against him after he failed to acknowledge service of her claim. He played no active part in the proceedings so that she was not required to confront him in court.

Ruling on the matter, the Court noted that he had grossly breached the obligation of trust he owed her as her treating clinician by repeatedly covertly filming her whilst she was getting undressed or undergoing treatment, taking images of her naked from the waist upwards. He for years retained and edited the footage for his own sexual gratification.

When the police informed her of the footage’s existence, her reaction was one of profound shock. She suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia and recurrent depression. She lost trust in the medical profession and her relationship with her partner suffered. She had great difficulty leaving the house and had to work exclusively from home.

For her pain, suffering and loss of amenity, the doctor was ordered to pay her £38,000 in damages. Further sums in respect of therapy costs and vulnerability on the open labour market brought her total award to £51,092, before interest.

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