Insights

The New York City Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act

Note:
The GMVA enables survivors of gender-motivated violence to pursue civil lawsuits against their abusers and institutions that facilitated the abuse. The deadline for filing a suit under the GMVA is 28 February 2025. It is prudent to promptly seek legal counsel to assess your options.

What is the GMVA?

The New York Gender-Motivated Violence Act (GMVA) is a New York City law, covering the five boroughs of New York, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.

The GMVA establishes a private right of action against perpetrators who commit gender-motivated violence, no matter when the gender-motivated violence occurred.

You can file a suit under the GMVA until 28 February 2025, as long as the gender-motivated violence occurred in the five boroughs of New York.

Boy showing STOP gesture with his hand. Concept of domestic violence and child abuse.

Crucial information for individuals affected by gender-based violence

1. How do I know what happened to me is gender-motivated violence?

The GMVA defines “gender-motivated violence” as any violence “committed because of gender or on the basis of gender, and due, at least in part, to an animus based on the victim’s gender.”

This can seem like a limited definition, but a New York Appellate Court has found that an allegation of rape or sexual assault in itself shows an animus based on gender, because “Animus inheres where consent is absent.”

2. What does the GMVA cover?

The GMVA redresses harm from gender-motivated violence that is

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Economical

The GMVA allows you to file a suit for damages other than physical. This means you can sue for damages if you’ve suffered emotionally or economically from the physical violence you suffered.

3. What damages can I seek under the GMVA?

Under the GMVA you can be awarded damages for:

  • Attorney fees and cost
  • Lost income and future wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Punitive damages
  • Other relief deemed appropriate by the court
  • Injunctive and declaratory relief

4. Who can I sue under the GMVA?

The GMVA lets you sue anyone who “directed, enabled, participated or conspired in the commission of gender-motivated violence”.

This means you don’t have to only sue, or even sue at all, the person who directly hurt you. The GMVA lets you sue, for example, the institution that employed the perpetrator and which enabled the perpetrator to be alone with you.

5. Can I still sue if I never made a claim to the police?

Yes. The GMVA is a civil statute, and any suits brought under it are civil. Whether you, at any point, went to the police or not, and whether or not the police took action, has no bearing on your ability to bring a claim under the GMVA.

6. How long do I have to make up my mind?

The GMVA expires on 28 February 2025. That means the deadline for filing a suit under the GMVA is 28 February 2025.

Discover your eligibility under the GMVA – contact our friendly specialists today

Sharing your story in its entirety can be a significant step, especially if it’s your first time doing so. We understand the weight of this decision and want you to feel supported. Our trauma-informed team is specially trained and experienced in listening to experiences like yours. Your initial consultation call with us is free and confidential. You retain full control over your next steps, and there’s no pressure to proceed.