Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law & What it Means for Survivors

What You Need to Know


What is the Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law?

The Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law or GMVA was enacted by the New York City Council in 2000 to provide survivors of gender-motivated violence with a case of action in state court.

After seeing the success of both the New York Child Victims Act and the New York Adult Survivors Act, the New York City Council decided to open a two-year civil window called the reviving claims under the GMVA that had been previously time-barred.

The two-year window, which opens on March 1, 2023, will allow survivors of gender-based violence to use the civil courts for justice, even if the statute of limitations has expired and no matter when the abuse took place. Individuals will have from March 1, 2023 to February 28, 2025 to take legal action under this law.


What is considered “crime of violence motivated by gender?”

According to the GMVA, crimes of violence motivated by gender include 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 could include, among other things, child sexual abuse, sexual violence (which can include sexual harassment in the workplace), stalking, intimate partner violence, family violence, elder abuse, and human trafficking.


Who does the law apply to?

Survivors of gender-based violence who suffered from that violence in New York City. This includes all five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

The age of the survivor does not matter.


What does the law allow a survivor to do?

The law allows survivors to use the civil courts to sue the alleged perpetrator and any institution or entity that directed, enabled, participated in, or conspired in the commission the crime of violence.


How has the law changed?

Before the window was enacted, survivors had seven years from the occurrence of crime to use the civil courts. During the window, survivors can come forward and sue, even if those seven years have passed.


How long is the window open?

The window is open for two years: from March 1, 2023 to February 28, 2025.


When does the window close?

The GMVA window closes on February 28, 2025. After that, survivors whose statues of limitations have passed may no longer be able to take legal action.


How do I know if the window applies to me?

The best way to learn and understand your rights is to talk to a trauma-informed attorney who is experienced in handling cases of sexual abuse and gender-based violence. A reputable and knowledgeable attorney will never charge you to discuss your rights.


Can anyone who experienced gender-based violence in New York State file a lawsuit under the law?

To qualify under the law, the gender-based violence must have occurred in New York City. It does not matter where the survivor lives now. Always talk to an attorney experienced in helping survivors to see if you have rights.


What if I want to take action but want to remain anonymous?

New York law provides options to survivors who have concerns about their identity being publicly known. You may be able to bring a claim as a “Jane Doe” or “John Doe.” This means your name will not be listed on the lawsuit and your name will not be publicly available, which will help to maintain your privacy.


How do I start the process?

The best way to explore your rights is to talk to an experienced attorney. If you are nervous about reaching out, you can learn more on our website about what this process is like.