Thursday, February 25, 2016

Understanding Georgia's hidden predator act |

In March 2015, the Georgia House of Representatives made it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits when the legislature passed House Bill 17 with overwhelming support.

Georgia previously had a relatively short statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse claims. As a result, many victims were unable to bring charges against their abusers later in life. The law, which went into effect in July 2015, extends the window of time for child sex-abuse victims to file a lawsuit and seek damages.

The new law provides a two-year discovery rule, which allows a survivor of child sexual trauma to file suit from the date they discover a sexual assault, which can be important in cases of repressed memory.

This provision is designed to address the fact that many individuals repress these traumatic experiences until they are adults when therapy can bring these incidents to light. Now, these individuals can gain access to sealed criminal investigations in which they were the victim.

According to the Hidden Predator Law, individuals who have already missed both the statute of limitations and the new two-year provision can now act on a one-time retroactive window of opportunity to file a civil suit against the perpetrator. The window opened on July 1, 2015, and will close on July 1, 2017.

Understanding Georgia's hidden predator act |

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