An historic day in Georgia.
That’s how advocates described the moment in June Governor deal signed the Hidden Predator Bill into law.
Wednesday, a major portion of that bill will “open the doors of justice” for victims.
That’s the day a 2 year retroactive window opens for any child abuse victims.
That means no matter what age you are, even if your statute of limitations are up, and you have a “preponderance of evidence – you can file a civil suit in the next two years.
And alleged abusers won’t be the only ones in the legal crosshairs.
“At any point a survivor discovers their injuries, be it PTSD, depression, eating disorder, whatever,” explains Angela Williams of Voicetoday.org. “Is linked to their trauma of child sexual abuse, at any point in the future they can file suit against their perpetrator and against any entity that was involved. So say that’s a church, other organizations.”
While experts don’t believe hundreds of lawsuits will be filed on the first day, they do say many victims are talking to lawyers and weighing their options.
Some of those victims, News 3 has learned, are right in our area.
“I think its going to expose a lot of hidden predators in our community” said Williams. “That people had no idea that had perpetrated child sexual abuse. I think its going to give survivors a lot of confidence and a lot of courage to come forward. And accountability, people want their day in court. They want justice.”
1 in 4 boys and 1 in 6 girls are victims of abuse before they turn 18.
For more information about talking to children or anyone about child sexual abuse, as well as prevention tips, go to voicetoday,org. Child Abuse Prevention.