Clinical Associate Professor & Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic Director
hetherington profile

University of Georgia
School of Law
Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic
Athens, GA 30602
United States

B.A., Emory University
J.D., University of Georgia

Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic
Child Welfare Law and Practice
Child Welfare Mock Trial Simulation Course

Biographical Information

Emma M. Hetherington is a clinical associate professor and the director of the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The Wilbanks CEASE Clinic, the first of its kind in the nation, is dedicated to legal representation and advocacy for survivors of child sexual abuse in civil litigation and juvenile court dependency proceedings. Hetherington was charged with the creation of the clinic in January 2016 with funding provided by School of Law alumnus Marlan Wilbanks. The clinic has served over 200 survivors of child sexual abuse since opening, and it continues to grow under Hetherington's leadership.

Hetherington is certified as a child welfare law specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children, and she has represented hundreds of children in juvenile court dependency proceedings who have experienced child abuse and neglect, with a specialized focus on youth ages 14 and up, most of whom have been sexually abused or exploited. Hetherington has served as faculty in several national and statewide conferences on child welfare, such as the National Child Welfare, Juvenile and Family Law Conference. She has served as an expert for the Georgia General Assembly, providing testimony on proposed legislation directly affecting survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation and has appeared in local, state and national media, including USA Today.

Hetherington serves on Georgia's Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and Human Trafficking State Expert Committee and is a member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force, where she serves on the Keeping At-Risk Youth Safe and Survivors Supported and Protected work groups. Hetherington provides legal consulting services to attorneys and advocates nationwide on matters involving child sexual abuse and exploitation, and she has consulted in several high-profile cases on behalf of survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. Her research focuses on the rights of survivors of child sexual abuse, the commercial and sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), therapeutic jurisprudence and interdisciplinary trauma-informed practice.

Before joining the law school's faculty, Hetherington was the managing attorney for the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless and a senior child advocate attorney for the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center. She earned her bachelor's degree from Emory University and her Juris Doctor cum laude from the School of Law. Prior to her work as a lawyer, Hetherington taught special education at the Emory Autism Center, where she provided educational and therapeutic services to individuals with autism and their families.

Publications & Activities