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House Judiciary Committee Passes Crucial Bill with Bipartisan Support

DES MOINES—The House Judiciary Committee passed House File 375 today with bipartisan support, a companion bill to Senate File 22 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 Iowa law would define as domestic violence, the survivor is unable to receive a protective order in the civil law system. IowaCASA, along with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, recently held a Day at the Capitol on February 21 to talk to legislators about the profound impact bills like House File 375 and Senate File 22 could have on survivors of sexual violence. Survivors also came forward during subcommittee hearings to share their stories and to make a case for this bill to be signed into law.

"Civil protective orders provide safety and a sense of security to survivors of sexual violence,” says Executive Director Beth Barnhill. “Thank you to 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 on others. We applaud Representative Greg Heartsill for his leadership in getting this bill through the judiciary committee, along with Representatives Chip Baltimore and Jim Carlin. We also appreciate the leadership from Senators Janet Petersen, Dan Dawson, Brad Zaun, and Amy Sinclair for helping to push Senate File 22 through the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week. 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."

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