DES MOINES--On Wednesday, May 10, Governor Terry Branstad will sign the Sexual Assault Protective Order bill into law. The signing will take place at 1:30pm at a formal signing in his formal office, located on the first floor of the Iowa State Capitol building. The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) has supported passage of this bill for the last 10 years and will be joined at the bill signing along with survivors, advocates, and allies.
Senate File 401 was overwhelmingly passed by the Iowa House of Representatives last month after having previously passed unanimously through the Senate. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2017, providing additional options and increasing safety for survivors. Iowa joins 34 other states and the District of Columbia in implementation of this type of civil protective order. Previously, unless a survivor had a relationship Iowa law defined under domestic abuse codes, a survivor of sexual abuse would be unable to receive a protective order in the civil legal system.
"Sexual assault protective orders are a crucial step forward for the healing and safety of survivors," says Beth Barnhill, Executive Director of IowaCASA. "We are grateful to the survivors who shared their stories with legislators about the impact this law could have. Even in the face of recent budget cuts for victim services funding, we have reason to celebrate. Together we move forward and look toward the future, as we will continue to fight and advocate for survivors and their loved ones."
To schedule interviews to take place before or after the official signing, please contact Communications Specialist Matty Smith prior to the signing. (Please note: While Matty will be unavailable during the bill signing, he is able to set up interviews in advance with news media as needed.)
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The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) connects sexual assault agencies across the state and helps provide resources, tools, and training to advocates who serve survivors of sexual violence. Its mission is to unite people and organizations to promote a society free from sexual violence and to meet the diverse needs of survivors. For more information, visit www.iowacasa.org.
Help is available 24/7 for survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones through the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821. Online support is available from 9am-9pm daily at www.iowaarch.org.