Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic Seeks to Empower Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse in Georgia

Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic Seeks to Empower Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse in Georgia
May 14, 2019

The Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic was established by Attorney Marlon Wilbanks to help fight the health crisis of childhood sexual abuse in Georgia. The organization is located at the University of Georgia and provides free legal services to survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It is the first of its kind in the country.

One of the goals at CEASE is to fight for the extension of the statute of limitations to file cases against childhood sexual abusers. As the law is written now, survivors only have until the age of 23 to file a civil claim. This short amount of time is not enough, as some victims take years to come to terms with their trauma.

Furthermore, many survivors experience substance abuse and other mental health problems in the years following their abuse. As a result, the current statute of limitations allows few survivors to seek justice against their attackers as most do not even consider taking legal action until their 30s or 40s.

Acts to Combat the Statute of Limitations

In 2015, the Hidden Perpetrator Act was enacted by the Georgia legislature. The act allowed survivors a two-year “open window” to file claims against their attackers if they were past the age of 23.

However, this policy had so many restrictions attached to it that it actually did very little in helping survivors come forward. In fact, CEASE only helped 15 people file claims during that two-year window.

Additionally, laws surrounding childhood sexual abuse claims in Georgia do not allow victims to file lawsuits against entire entities, only certain individuals. Georgia is one of only two states in the U.S. that have a law this restrictive. While CEASE has helped many using their vast resources from within the organization as well as from UGA, they still have a long way to go.

The main goal of CEASE is to empower survivors to speak up against their abusers in whichever form is best suited for them. The organization also hopes to start a conversation surrounding this epidemic, based on the belief that building awareness is the most effective way to seek change in the community and fight against this crisis.

Contact a Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawyer

If you or someone you know is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, please contact one of our attorneys at Warshauer Woodward Atkins. We have a team of seasoned lawyers who understand the emotional sensitivity of these types of cases, and we would be glad to help you seek the justice you deserve.