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New NYC law offers extended time for adult survivors to file certain suits after Adult Survivors Act deadline has passed

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New York City’s Adult Survivors Act allowed people to file lawsuits for sexual assault after the statute of limitations had passed, but the window to file closed on Thursday. However, there is a second option for some survivors of sexual assault and other gender-based violence. The Gender-Motivated Violence Act, approved by the City Council in 2021, creates a two-year window for victims of gender-based violence to bring lawsuits against those who harmed them, even if the statute of limitations has passed. This law extends the time frame for sexual assault survivors and also allows people who have been injured in other ways due to gender bias to file lawsuits.

The City Council amended the law in 2021 to extend the statute of limitations in some instances and to provide an extra two years for people to file lawsuits even if the deadline in their case has already passed. The lookback window opened this past March.

The main difference between the Gender-Motivated Violence Act and the Adult Survivors Act is that the former applies to violent acts motivated by gender, not specifically sexual offenses. The Gender-Motivated Violence Act gives survivors an extra two years to file lawsuits, while the Adult Survivors Act only provided a one-year window.

Research and advocates’ support for the extension of statutes of limitations have shown that trauma can affect people’s memories and their willingness to come forward. The #MeToo movement and high-profile cases of sexual abuse have also highlighted the need for stronger protections for survivors and an increased understanding of the obstacles they face in seeking justice. The City Council’s goal in passing the Gender-Motivated Violence Act is to provide a pathway for as many survivors of gender-based violence as possible to seek justice.

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Photo credit gothamist.com

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