Transgender escort wins harassment damages from unknown online abuser

The case of GYH v Persons Unknown [2018] EWHC 212 (QB) held that a transgender woman, whom worked as an escort, is entitled to damages from her unknown online abuser. However, in the case, the claimant identified as ‘GYH’ was required to sue ‘persons unknown’ because she was unable to identify the persons whom had posed the abusive material that equated to a campaign of harassment.

The woman provides companionship services but has been tormented through an online campaign of abuse via social media. Mr Justice Knowles granted GYH a damages claim, however stated that there will not be an assessment of the damages amount until the harasser is identified. Furthermore, the Judge granted the continuing of the injunction protecting GYH’s identity.

Mr Justice Knowles explained that when the person is identified there will be an opportunity for the person to argue against the award of damages:

“At this stage, no defendant has been identified or come forward, but in the light of the nature of the claimant’s case as set out in her claim form, and of the court’s findings in the judgment, I conclude there is no real prospect of any defendant successfully defending the claim,”

GYH’s abuse and harassment began in 2015 and in the judgment Mr Justice Warby stated GYH had been the victim of: “a sweeping attack on the values of autonomy and dignity which are at the heart of the right to privacy”

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