The Judicial College Guidelines 17th edition has been published and while there are inflationary changes across the board, including for damages where there has been sexual or physical abuse, the major change in connection with the same has been the introduction of a new category with associated recommended guideline figures.

When the new category of damages for sexual and/or physical abuse was introduced in the 16th edition there were three categories – severe, moderate and less severe. Now there are four categories – severe, moderately severe, moderate and less severe. 

The moderate and less severe categories have increased by 22% for inflation in line with all damages for all injuries so the lowest figure is now £11,870 at the bottom of the less severe category and the top of the moderate is £54,920.

The significant change is the introduction of the moderately severe and severe categories which between them range from £54,920 - £183,050. That is a significant increase from the previous top figure of £120,000. 

Limited information has been provided to differentiate these two categories. As with all categories, regard is had to the nature and length of psychiatric illness and the impact on the claimant’s ability to cope with education, work and to sustain personal and sexual relationships. There have been no changes to the factors and aggravated features to be taken into consideration. The introduction to the guidelines notes that in making the changes regard has also been had to the impact of image-based abuse.