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 direct 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. 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.
An innovative course created by CEASE Clinic director Professor Emma Hetherington and Professor Jennifer Elkins of the School of Social Work was featured on WUGA on June 19, 2019. Part 2 is scheduled to air on June 20, 2019. The course teaches trauma-informed practices to law and social work graduate students at the University of Georgia. Students participate in a mock trial involving allegations of child sexual abuse and domestic violence. The course has won a national award and focuses on interdisciplinary advocacy and creating trauma-informed courtrooms.
Fulton County Daily Report took an in-depth look at CEASE Clinic's White Paper, published April 8, 2019, and highlighted its findings that civil access to the judicial system in Georgia remains difficult for those who have been victims of sexual abuse.
Prof. Hetherington and student Michael Nunnally published an article in Volume 53 of the Georgia Law Review (Online) discussing sexual abuse survivors’ access to legal remedies in the civil legal system as seen through a clinical legal education perspective.