Verdict - Spring 2016 - (Page 39)

> FEATURE STORY Seeking Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse New Law in Georgia Has Given a Voice to Victims and Helped Expose Long-Hidden Predators BY MORGAN DUNCAN The act of sexually abusing a child is the attempted murder of a soul. I can see no more important task than protecting those in our society who L too often have no voice. - Attorney Marlan B. Wilbanks ast year, the Georgia General Assembly enacted important changes to the law relating to limitations on civil actions brought by childhood sexual abuse victims. The old version of the statute, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.1, barred victims from filing a civil suit against their abusers after the victims' 23rd Birthday. The problem with the previous law was that many young victims do not become aware of the abuse and/or the resulting injuries until later in life. In order to cope with these horrifically traumatic experiences, many people unconsciously block out the memories for years. Serious injuries resulting from the sexual abuse, including substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, may not surface until the victim gets older. Such injuries may be triggered by an event in the victim's adult life, such as having children of his/her own. By the time the memories and injuries from the childhood sexual abuse surfaced, many victims were barred from any legal remedies. As a result, many perpetrators remained hidden, often continuing to sexually abuse the most vulnerable members of our society with no repercussions. The Hidden Predator Act (Act 97 (HB17)), which went into effect on July 1, 2015, made significant progress toward increasing the rights of victims seeking justice against their abusers. The Act added a "discovery rule," providing that the victim may bring a civil action after his/ her 23rd Birthday if the suit is filed within two years from the date the victim knew or should Spring 2016 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Spring 2016

President’s Message
GTLA at 60: A Conversation with Tommy Malone
Law Practice and Cloud Computing: Staying Ethical in a Digital World
14 Years in the Making: Justice Delayed, but Not Denied
What is the Plaintiff’s Burden in Proving the Value of Medical Expenses?
An Introduction to Daycare Negligence Cases
Diminished Value Claims: Not Just for Cars Anymore
Seeking Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp: Recent Developments
Civil Justice PAC Contributors
Champion Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members
Index to Advertisers/

Verdict - Spring 2016