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Proving Gender Motivation in Civil Rights Remedy Claims under the Violence Against Women Act

By Julie Goldscheid

The civil rights remedy in the Violence Against Women Act creates a federal civil rights cause of action for gender-motivated violent crimes. The civil rights remedy, which permits victims to bring suit against perpetrators for damages, declaratory or injunctive relief, and attorney fees, contains two basic elements of proof. A plaintiff must first establish that she was the victim of a "crime of violence" of sufficient severity. Then she must prove the more nuanced "gender motivation"—a connection between the defendant's violent act and the victim's gender.

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