Verdict - Spring 2016 - (Page 39)
> FEATURE STORY
for Victims of
New Law in
Given a Voice to
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
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
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
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Spring 2016