Tag: BC Sexual Abuse non-pecuniary damages

BC Considering Revenge Porn Law Clearing Way For Better Victim Access to Justice

Currently if you are the victim of revenge porn there are various legal remedies in British Columbia.  While there are various different civil routes to seek redress it is a legal area with shortcomings.

Today the BC Government announced that they are exploring “possible legislation to address the non-consensual distribution of intimate images” including ways “to achieve results faster and get better access to justice.”  The government has invited stakeholder groups and members of the public to share their views until June 2021.

The full press release reads as follows:

Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2021FIN0033-000850
May 6, 2021
Ministry of Finance
Gender Equity Office
Consultation underway to help victims of revenge porn
VICTORIA – The Government of British Columbia is undertaking consultations on possible legislation to address the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, also known as revenge porn or image abuse.

While the publication of intimate images without consent is an offence under Canada’s Criminal Code, potential provincial legislation could provide additional tools for people to protect themselves and seek recourse. Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, will lead the consultation on behalf of David Eby, Attorney General.

“Without consent, circulating or threatening to distribute an intimate image is a form of sexual violence with traumatic and lasting impacts,” Lore said. “The non-consensual sharing of images can be a form of intimate partner violence or be used to extort victims for additional images, sex or money. We believe a comprehensive B.C. approach can make a real difference for people to achieve results faster and get better access to justice.”

B.C. legislation could provide a new option to ensure people have an efficient way to have posted images taken down and destroyed. It could also create a new process for people to claim compensation from wrongdoers. The potential legislation could also address the threat of distributing images and prevent such harms from occurring in the first place. The scope of the legislation could also apply to altered images, known as deep fakes.

According to Cybertip.ca, reported incidents of non-consensual disclosure of intimate images increased 58% by the start of 2021, compared to the nine-month period prior to April 1, 2020. This included a 94% increase in youth reporting and a 44% increase in adults reporting.

Consultations with stakeholder groups are ongoing until June 2021. Members of the public can also submit their views by emailing submissions to: imageprivacy@gov.bc.ca

 

British Columbia Ordered to Pay $605,000 in Damages to Victim of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, ordering the Government of BC to pay a Plaintiff $605,000 in damages as a result of childhood sexual abuse.
In today’s case (D.K.B. v. British Columbia) the Plaintiff was sexually abused by his hockey coach when he was 13 years old.    The abuse occurred in 1988.    The hockey coach was a convicted sex offender and his probation officer failed to warn the minor hockey association of this fact.  In 2005 the Province of BC was found vicariously liable for the sexual abuse.  Today’s case focused on damages.
The details of the abuse are set out in paragraphs 5-10 of today’s judgement.  The Plaintiff suffered harm as a result of this abuse.    Dr. O’Shaughnessy testified about the extent of the harm and his opinion was accepted by the Court.  Specifically Dr. O’Shaughnessy provided the following opinion:
Ultimately, however, I am impressed that given the nature of the sexual assaults and in particular at the critical developmental point that more likely than not the sexual assaults were a material factor in the development of his Mood Disorder and his substance abuse as well as his Personality Disorder. While indeed he may have gone on to develop problems with substance abuse in any event, I think the sexual abuse was a critical factor and more likely than not he would not have gone on to develop these difficulties had the sexual assaults not occurred
The Plaintiff went on to have a career in professional hockey and subsequently as a realtor.  He testified that this was impacted by the consequneces of the abuse.  Mr. Justice Dley agreed and awarded just over $450,000 for the impact the abuse had on the Plaintiff’s earning capacity.
The balance of the claim was made up largely of non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life).  The parties settled this head of damage at $125,000.  Since this aspect of the case was privately settled today’s judgement is not, strictly speaking, a binding precedent on the issue, however, given the relative lack of reported cases dealing with non-pecuniary damages for sexual abuse in British Columbia I thought it would be useful to add today’s case to this site’s civil sex abuse claims database.

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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