34 U.S. Code § 12361 - Civil rights

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(a) Purpose

Pursuant to the affirmative power of Congress to enact this part under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, as well as under section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, it is the purpose of this part to protect the civil rights of victims of gender motivated violence and to promote public safety, health, and activities affecting interstate commerce by establishing a Federal civil rights cause of action for victims of crimes of violence motivated by gender.

(b) Right to be free from crimes of violence

All persons within the United States shall have the right to be free from crimes of violence motivated by gender (as defined in subsection (d)).

(c) Cause of action

A person (including a person who acts under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State) who commits a crime of violence motivated by gender and thus deprives another of the right declared in subsection (b) shall be liable to the party injured, in an action for the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and such other relief as a court may deem appropriate.

(d) DefinitionsFor purposes of this section—
the term “crime of violence motivated by gender” means a crime of 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; and
(2) the term “crime of violence” means— [1]
an act or series of acts that would constitute a felony against the person or that would constitute a felony against property if the conduct presents a serious risk of physical injury to another, and that would come within the meaning of State or Federal offenses described in section 16 of title 18, whether or not those acts have actually resulted in criminal charges, prosecution, or conviction and whether or not those acts were committed in the special maritime, territorial, or prison jurisdiction of the United States; and
includes an act or series of acts that would constitute a felony described in subparagraph (A) but for the relationship between the person who takes such action and the individual against whom such action is taken.
(e) Limitation and procedures
(1) Limitation

Nothing in this section entitles a person to a cause of action under subsection (c) for random acts of violence unrelated to gender or for acts that cannot be demonstrated, by a preponderance of the evidence, to be motivated by gender (within the meaning of subsection (d)).

(2) No prior criminal action

Nothing in this section requires a prior criminal complaint, prosecution, or conviction to establish the elements of a cause of action under subsection (c).

(3) Concurrent jurisdiction

The Federal and State courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction over actions brought pursuant to this part.

(4) Supplemental jurisdiction

Neither section 1367 of title 28 nor subsection (c) of this section shall be construed, by reason of a claim arising under such subsection, to confer on the courts of the United States jurisdiction over any State law claim seeking the establishment of a divorce, alimony, equitable distribution of marital property, or child custody decree.

[1]  So in original. The word “means” probably should appear after “(A)” below.
References in Text

This part, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (e)(3), was in the original “this subtitle”, meaning subtitle C of title IV of Pub. L. 103–322, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1941. For complete classification of subtitle C of title IV of Pub. L. 103–322 to the Code, see Short Title of 1994 Act note set out under section 10101 of this title and Tables.


Section was formerly classified to section 13981 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, prior to editorial reclassification and renumbering as this section.

Section is comprised of section 40302 of Pub. L. 103–322. Subsec. (e)(5) of section 40302 of Pub. L. 103–322 amended section 1445 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.


For constitutionality of section 40302 of Pub. L. 103–322, see Congressional Research Service, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, Appendix 1, Acts of Congress Held Unconstitutional in Whole or in Part by the Supreme Court of the United States.