Understanding the Gender-Motivated Violence Act (GMVA) Everything about GMVA

Understanding the Gender-Motivated Violence Act in New York

The silence of trauma echoes through the hearts and minds of survivors of sexual abuse. In the depths of resilience, survivors weave stories of bravery that unfold against legal milestones. However, many of them are unaware of what the legal institutions have to offer, and this is where awareness becomes a potent weapon – the first transformative step towards healing and justice.

The Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law (GMVPL) or Gender-Motivated Violence Act (GMVA) has become essential to dismantle the constraints of statute limitations and act as a chance for the muted voices to rise. The journey towards justice demands awareness, and the DiPietro Law Firm is here to help you.

What is the GMVA?

The Gender-Motivated Violence Act (GMVA) is a significant legal framework within the New York City Administrative Code. It has been mainly designed to protect both women and men from gender-based violence. It recognizes acts of sexual assault and abuse as forms of violence inherently motivated by the gender of the victim. It empowers the abuse survivors to file civil lawsuits for a specific time period. It is also addressed as the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law (VGMVPL).

An overview of the GMVA

  1. Civil Remedy: GMVA introduces a civil cause of action, facilitating survivors of gender-motivated violence to seek justice through civil lawsuits against perpetrators and answerable institutions.
  2. Scope of Gender-Motivated Violence: GMVA addresses sexual assaults and other sex crimes categorized as crimes or felonies under state or federal law.
  3. NYC Jurisdiction: GMVA applies exclusively to New York City, demanding that the violent act occur within the city’s five boroughs for survivors to have valid claims.

Advent of the GMVA

In 2000, the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law (VGMVPL), commonly known as the GMVA or GMVP, was born in response to a key Supreme Court ruling. The case of United States v. Morrison catalyzed the necessity for legislative action, revealing a critical gap in protection for victims of gender-based violence.

Christy Brzonkala’s experience at Virginia Polytechnic Institute pushed her to file a lawsuit under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) against two college football players accused of raping her. However, the legal landscape shifted dramatically when, on May 15, 2000, the Supreme Court delivered a divided 5-4 decision. They ruled that Congress lacked constitutional authority to enact VAWA’s civil remedy provision under the Commerce Clause or the 14th Amendment.

This ruling left survivors like Brzonkala without a viable path to pursue civil cases for gender-motivated violence. In response to this alarming void in justice, the New York City Council swiftly enacted the GMVA. This legislation aimed to bridge the gap left by the Supreme Court’s decision, providing a crucial route for survivors to seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Thus, the GMVA emerged as a beacon of hope, offering a lifeline to survivors and ensuring that gender-based violence did not go unchecked.

The Impact of GMVA

Under the GMVA, survivors in New York City can seek justice and accountability for gender-based violence. This landmark legislation has had a profound impact on survivors’ ability to address instances of physical or emotional injury resulting from gender-based violence, including rape and sexual assault.

A significant aspect of the GMVA is its jurisdictional scope. Survivors can file civil lawsuits for incidents of gender-based violence that occurred within the five boroughs of New York City. This provision ensures that survivors have access to the protections and remedies afforded by the statute.

In 2019, a notable court of appeals decision in Breest v. Haggis reaffirmed the expansive definition of gender-motivated violence under the GMVPL. This ruling established that both rape and sexual assault are recognized forms of gender-based violence, further solidifying survivors’ rights under the statute.

The GMVA extends beyond individual perpetrators to encompass any individual or institution that played a role in enabling or covering up the abuse. This provision empowers survivors to pursue legal action against not only their abusers but also those complicit in perpetuating a culture of silence and impunity.

Furthermore, the GMVA encompasses a broad spectrum of gender-based violence beyond rape and sexual assault. Survivors may seek recourse for incidents such as domestic violence, physical and verbal assault, sexual violence in the workplace, human trafficking, and false imprisonment. This comprehensive approach ensures that survivors of various forms of gender-based violence have avenues for seeking justice and redress under the law.

The GMVA lookback window that closes on March 1, 2025

The GMVA has been a remarkable legal force since its inception, providing survivors an opportunity to seek justice and recover damages resulting from gender-motivated violence. It was codified in the New York City Administrative Code to address the physical, psychological, and economic harm caused by gender-based violence. In January 2022, the NYC Council passed an amendment to the GMVA extending opportunities for survivors by introducing a temporary 2-year lookback window and extending the statute of limitations, providing survivors with extended time frames to file civil lawsuits.

This window closes on March 1, 2025, and allows survivors to utilize the 2-year lookback window from March 1, 2023, to March 1, 2025, to file civil lawsuits, even for the abusive incidents that occurred years ago. We recommend that you file your claim by February 28, 2025. The statute of limitations under the GMVA is now up to 9 years from the assault date. It addresses that healing from a trauma like sexual assault might take some time, and the victims must be empowered to report the act after gathering the courage to go through the procedure of seeking justice.

What should be your response to sexual assault?

As traumatizing as it is to survive a sexual assault, it is essential to gather yourself and stand against the abuse. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you deserve justice, and reporting the crime is the first step toward your fight. While the compensation resulting from filing and fighting a case might not compensate for the pain you have gone through, it can help you seek assistance for your physical and emotional well-being. The DiPietro Law Firm has years of experience litigating such sexual assault cases for both adults and minors. We understand the demand for a sensitive approach towards the survivors and offer free and 100% confidential consultation to support their journeys toward healing and justice.

Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act On Legal Documents

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About Anthony T. DiPietro

Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a compassionate and skilled trial attorney who has completely dedicated the past 23 years of his career to litigating medical malpractice and sexual abuse cases against major corporate institutions including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and other wrongdoers.

Mr. DiPietro has also obtained some of New York State’s highest verdicts and settlements, and has been selected to New York State Super Lawyers® each year, for the past 10 years in a row.

In 2022, Mr. DiPietro was selected as one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators for the landmark cases he’s won on behalf of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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Here, at The DiPietro Law Firm, we’re committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and assault find the justice they deserve.

All information discussed during our consultations always remains completely 100% confidential.

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Robert Hadden, a disgraced Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN) who worked for Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, was criminally convicted in 2016 of sexually exploiting and abusing patients under the guise of medical care.

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