DES MOINES --The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed Senate File 22 today, a bill that would allow a sexual assault survivor to petition for a civil protective order, prior to the arrest of the
defendant. Iowa is one of the few states that does not provide for a civil protective order for survivors of sexual violence. Currently, unless a survivor of sexual violence has some type of relationship with the perpetrator of the abuse that law would define as domestic violence, that survivor is unable to receive a protective order in the civil law system.
Senate File 22 now moves to the Senate floor for debate. IowaCASA, along with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, held a Day at the Capitol last week on February 21 to talk to legislators about the profound impact laws like Senate File 22 could have on survivors of sexual violence.
"We applaud legislators for moving this crucial bill forward today," says Beth Barnhill, Executive Director for IowaCASA. "Civil protective orders provide safety and a sense of security to survivors of sexual violence. We'd especially like to thank the brave survivors who came forward in previous days and weeks to share their experiences with legislators and to discuss the impact this law could have.
"We commend Senators Dan Dawson, Brad Zaun, Janet Petersen, and Amy Sinclair for their leadership in getting this bill through the judiciary committee. We believe that Iowa should join the other 34 states and the District of Columbia to provide civil orders of protection for survivors of sexual violence. Together, along with support from our elected officials, we hope this law will become a life-changing reality for survivors across the state."