The Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic is the first of its kind in the nation, representing survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation 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 and exploitation.
HB 17 Hidden Predator Act
In July of 2015, Georgia House Bill 17, also known as the Hidden Predator Act, provided a two-year window to revive civil cases that were previously barred under the old statute of limitations. The window allowed survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation, who were previously locked out of the courts due to the old statue, to finally seek justice. CEASE filed 6 claims under the window, which closed on June 30, 2017, and continues to provide legal representation for survivors under Georgia's current statute of limitation.
Since the closing of the window, survivors in Georgia must file their claims by the age of 23, or if the abuse occurred on or after July 1, 2015, survivors can bring suit until age 23 or within 2 years of the discovery that the abuse caused the resulting harms.
What the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sexual Abuse Victims Act of 2022 Means for Survivors in Georgia
On Friday September 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sexual Abuse Victims Act, which eliminates the statute of limitations (SOL) for civil personal injury claims arising from acts in violation of certain federal laws. While the legislation increases access to civil justice for some survivors of child sexual abuse, the act does not allow all survivors to file claims. While each survivor’s case is unique and would need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, we answer some common questions about the law below:
CEASE Welcomes James Graessle as our new Clinical Legal Fellow. James comes to CEASE after serving as a judicial clerk for Judge Leslie J. Abrams Gardner of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Previously, he worked as an associate at King & Spalding, where maintained an active pro bono practice focusing on criminal justice reform and asylum based on human trafficking or religious, political and ethnic persecution. For more on James, see his Georgia Law online profile.