Victims of sexual abuse get added protections

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This week Senate File 401 was passed in the Iowa Senate. This legislation provides a process for victims of sexual abuse to get a civil protective order that would require the perpetrator of the abuse to stay away from the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s residence, school or place of employment. Under current law, civil protective orders are available for victims of domestic abuse and victims of elder abuse. However, those who have suffered sexual abuse are not able to apply for a civil protective order. They can only get a no-contact order if there is a criminal prosecution, which does not always happen.

The process provided for in this bill is similar to the process for civil protective orders for domestic abuse. Those protected pursuant to a domestic abuse civil protective order or a sexual abuse civil protective order can sign up for notifications from a victim notification system within the Victim Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The protected person and others who register will receive notification when the protective order is served, as well as notification at least 30 days prior to the expiration date of the order.

These additional processes add layers of protection for people who already have been harmed by a terrible crime.