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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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2 years ago when my daughter was 15 she sent a topless photo

Customer Question

2 years ago when my daughter was 15 she sent a topless photo to a boy at school. It's hugely out of character, and completely stupid, I know. The boy has been part of a separate bullying incident at school against my daughter and, as part of that investigation, it was alleged he had hundreds of pictures and videos of girls all from school and all aged under 18. I received an anonymous letter (highly likely to be from this boys parents), just signed "a concerned parent" threatening if my daughter didn't stop talking they would publish the picture on the Internet, and last night I received another letter containing a copy of the picture. My daughter admitted to me she sent it to him years ago, although the image does look as though it's been altered, so I've just told her to say it's been photoshopped and isn't her. I suspect if we go to the Police they will just say we have no proof who sent the letters, and it's her own silly fault for sending the picture in the first place. Apart from her denying it, is there anything else we can do? She is about to apply to university and I know academic departments and future employers, etc, check for that kind of thing. I'm also concerned how this is affecting her psychologically. I constantly tell her nothing is so bad to harm yourself, but she's very quiet and withdrawn. Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What are you hoping to do about this?
To achieve what specifically?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I primarily want to make sure the threats stop and that he definitely doesn't publish them. Obviously I would also hope there'd be some recriminations too, but it's hard to know how that might happen without bringing the photos to everyone's attention. Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I'm not really sure that can be achieved.
At least, if they do then there is action that can be taken potentially and it probably could be removed but until they do that cannot be relied upon.
Sending the letter does amount to a malicious communication but there is no way of proving the original and although it is likely to come from his parents it is possible to prove which or that another person has done it on their behalf.
The only other alternative is to seek an injunction forcing them to hand it over which might be possible considering she was 15 and so an unlawful image maybe but then she has committed offences in sending it to him as well and also it is all a bit pointless as there could be copies.
It is always possible to get a solicitor to write to them in neutral terms warning them of the laws available. That would cost about £100 and might well be sufficient to deter them. Often solicitor's letters do work.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

That's a shame but more-or-less what I expected. She has been an idiot but the punishment is harsh. She sent it on snapchat, where the image should have disappeared in 5 seconds, but he bought an app. so he could save it! She was young and stupid, but never thought that image would exist for longer than a few seconds, and not a lifetime. This family will have this image of my daughter forever and there's nothing I can do about it. IS there anything at all I can do, other than just get her to say it's not her?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
There are causes of actions open if they use the image.
The difficulty is that she did send it to him and he hasn't done anything unlawful with it yet.
The letter contains an unlawful threat but the issue is proving the identity of the sender. I would hang onto it though. It points to a joint action and you might need that in due course.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok thank you very much - just one last question. The father is a gynaecologist and I'm tempted to send the image and the letters to the GMC. His son told my daughter his parents sent them. I'm not really so vindictive but if they release the pictures on the Internet it might be a good idea?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I really wouldn't do that. You would be at risk of being sued to kingdom come which the GMC might well pay for. There is no clearer defamation that making allegations that cannot be substantiated to a professional regulator.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

you're quite right. I would never do it anyway. It's just born from frustration. Kind Regards

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, I understand.
You need to think carefully before acting though. It is very easy to act emotionally and then play into their hands. Sadly there are some people who provoke others with intent to act against them when they goad them into action.

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