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The New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Act (GMVA), sometimes referred to as the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law (GMVPL) allows survivors to seek damages from their abusers and responsible entities.

The Gender-Motivated Violence Act provides a powerful legal framework for addressing sexual abuse personal injury cases. By recognizing gender-based violence as a civil rights violation, the GMVA offers victims a critical pathway to justice, empowering them to hold their abusers accountable and seek the compensation they deserve. For victims and their advocates, understanding and utilizing the provisions of the GMVA is a crucial step in the fight against sexual abuse and gender-motivated violence.

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Amendment to GMVPL Extends Time Frame, Establishes Retroactive Period until 2025

In January 2022, the New York City Council passed an amendment to the Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law, expanding opportunities for survivors to make claims.

The amendment consists of two key provisions:

  1. It establishes a temporary 2-year lookback window for survivors of gender-motivated violence to file civil lawsuits, regardless of the time that has passed since the assault. This lookback window will be open from March 1, 2023, to March 1, 2025.
  2. It extends the statute of limitations, allowing survivors to bring claims within 7 to 9 years from the date of the gender-motivated, violent act. This extension gives survivors a more extended timeframe to file claims than the previous statute of limitations.

The following types of evidence can support your case:

  • Medical Records: Obtain detailed medical records documenting your injuries and any treatments you received. These records should include emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and ongoing therapy or counseling.
  • Police Reports: If you reported the violence to law enforcement, include copies of police reports. These reports can provide an official account of the incident and the initial investigation.
  • Witness Statements: Collect statements from witnesses corroborating your account of the violence. This can include friends, family members, neighbors, or anyone else who witnessed the incident or its aftermath.
  • Photographic Evidence: Provide photographs of any visible injuries or property damage resulting from the violence. These images can offer powerful visual proof of the harm you endured.
  • Communication Records: Preserve any relevant communications with the perpetrator, such as emails, text messages, or social media posts, that demonstrate a gender-based motive or document threats and abusive behavior.
  • Personal Testimony: Your own detailed account of the violence is crucial. Describe the events leading up to the incident, the act of violence itself, and the subsequent impact on your life. Be as specific and thorough as possible.

What Damages Can I Recover Under New York's Gender-Motivated Violence Act?

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to cover the actual losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the gender-motivated violence. These damages can include:

  • Medical Expenses: You can recover costs related to medical treatment, including emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and ongoing therapy. This also covers future medical expenses anticipated due to the lasting impact of the abuse.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the abuse has diminished your ability to enjoy life and engage in activities you once found pleasurable, you can seek damages for this loss. This encompasses the impact on your overall quality of life.
  • Lost Wages: If the violence has caused you to miss work or affected your ability to earn income, you can seek compensation for lost wages. This also extends to future loss of earning capacity if the trauma impacts your long-term employment prospects.
  • Pain and Suffering: Victims can be compensated for the physical pain and emotional suffering endured due to the violence. This non-economic damage takes into account the severity and duration of your suffering.
  • Property Damage: If the violence caused damage to your property, you could recover the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged items.
  • Psychological Counseling: The law recognizes the profound emotional and psychological trauma that can be caused by gender-motivated violence. Compensation for therapy, counseling, and psychiatric care aimed at helping you recover from mental anguish and emotional distress is included.
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