The Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic is the first of its kind in the nation, representing survivors of child sexual abuse in civil litigation and juvenile court dependency matters. The clinic not only provides direct representation to survivors, but also serves as a teaching center as part of the University of Georgia School of Law.
Welcome to the Wilbanks CEASE Clinic
Our mission is to provide free, trauma-informed legal services to our clients in a supportive, professional environment as well as to educate and prepare the next generation of lawyers to represent survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation. As a resource center for survivors and attorneys who are seeking these claims, we form part of a movement that seeks justice for all survivors of child sexual abuse.
HB 17 Hidden Predator Act
In July of 2015, Georgia passed HB 17, also known as the Hidden Predator Act, which provides a two-year window to revive civil cases that were previously barred under the old statute of limitations. This window allows survivors of child sexual abuse, who were previously locked out of the courts due to the old statue, to finally seek justice and demand reparations in court. For claims arising out of sexual abuse occurring after July 2015, survivors can bring suit until age 23 or within 2 years of the discovery of the abuse and the resulting harms.
The Wilbanks CEASE Clinic post-graduate fellow, Melina D. Lewis, and director, Emma Hetherington, co-authored an amicus curiae in support of the Appellant in the case of Philip Doe v. St. Joseph's Catholic Church, et al., in the Georgia Court of Appeals. The brief addresses the Appellant's public nuisance claim, which was dismissed at the trial court level.
The Wilbanks CEASE Clinic hosted its annual conference via a virtual format on Thursday April 23, 2020. The conference, viewed by over 200 attendees, focused on the commercial and sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). CEASE Clinic Law Student Associate Victoria Hicks ('21) presented her research on how the lack of diversity in domestic minor sex trafficking media campaigns perpetuates the adultification bias against Black children.
We are excited to announce that we are moving our annual conference to a virtual webinar format on April 23, 2020! This year's conference will focus on the Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Creative Justice for Survivors. The virtual conference will feature Director Tom C. Rawlings of the Georgia Division of Children and Family Services. Attorneys attending the live webinar may earn up to 4 CLE credits.