Georgia’s Hidden Predator Bill will officially be signed into law by Governor Deal on Tuesday.
It took months of meetings, lobbying and backroom politics to get to this point.
It includes a 2 year discovery rule, and a 2 year retroactive window for any accuser, no matter what age, to file civil suits.
The new law is designed to give victims of abuse a voice, but is it enough?
“One in four girls and one in 6 boys are sexually abused before they are 18 years old,” explains Angela Williams, CEO of Voice Today. “The median age is 9 years old. Only one in 10 ever tell.”
Angela Williams was one of those victims herself, abused for 14 years. Now she is an advocate for the victims, the voiceless.
“Its really us survivors that know the pain, know the trauma and know what it does to your life,” says Williams.
Her life’s work, helping others.
The Voice Today CEO was one of the leaders in Atlanta helping get the Hidden Predator Bill through the Legislature..
“Most people don’t realize we aren’t dealing with an epidemic, but a pandemic,” says Williams.
The law isn’t just designed to stop sexual abuse now, but to focus on “older” victims. The ones over 18, the ones who’s statute of limitations has run out.
“Victims of child sexual abuse or child rape need to know they will have 2 years from July 15, 2015 to 2017 to file a civil suit against their perpetrator,” explains Williams.
But the bill was watered down in committee, and isn’t ideal.
“It puts a lot or burden on the court system. it puts another barrier of entry to victims, having to prove discovery so there’s a trial with a judge now a jury,” explains Angela.
Williams believes this will benefit those victimized in the past, and children who may be victims..now.
“As victims come forward and as victims disclose in criminal court and in civil court it gives courage from another victim to come forward,” said Williams.
Courage which could keep another child safe.
“I think its time we stand up,” said Williams. “And we protect the next generation of children.”
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