ICADV is dedicated to ensuring the rights of women are protected through working with state and federal lawmakers. ICADV is currently working on legislation that will address the needs of domestic violence victims and protect women from their batters. ICADV supports including dating violence under the protection of criminal domestic abuse law, as well as legislation that would require the department of education to develop and distribute model dating violence policy to assist all schools in developing policies for dating violence. ICADV also supports The Right to Call Police Bill, which will allow victims of domestic abuse to call the police for emergency assistance without fear of eviction. Through legislative action, ICADV represents the voices of battered women and the people who serve them at the Iowa Capitol.
Include Dating Violence in the Code
Victims in dating relationships are denied the protection of criminal domestic abuse law because the only situations covered are the assaults of family or household members who reside together at the time of the assault or within the past year, separated or divorced spouses, and persons who have a child together. ICADV is currently working on a bill that would include dating relationships under the protection criminal domestic abuse assault. It is important that women in dating relationships have the protection of criminal domestic abuse law also because they face the same cycle of control and abuse as other domestic violence victims. Dating relationship violence is just as serious. The Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that dating relationships can be just as deadly as married relationships.In 2005, homicides in dating relationships reached an astounding number of 700 nationwide, with only a slightly rate of 757 homicides for those married.
SSB 1093 would allow the landlord to bifurcate or divide a rental agreement allowing the landlord to only evict the abuser while allowing the victim to remain in the rental unit. After meetings last session on this issue, those representing landlords' interest stated that landlords currently were unable to bifurcate leases. We are now working on drafting a new bill, which we will run next session to address the more pressing reasons of why victims of domestic violence are being evicted from their homes. We will be working with attorneys who represent these victims firsthand and know the exact legal reasons landlords are using to evict. In practice, it appears that although landlord may not have legal authority, they are already bifurcating leases.
After the use of a gun, strangulation is the most common lethal method of domestic assault. However, strangulation can rarely be prosecuted as a felony unless death or a broken neck occurs. The legislature is working to create a new felony criminal offense of strangulation. This new law would help take domestic violence perpetrators out of the home before the violence escalates to murder.
Teen Dating Violence Protection
Teen dating violence can be defined as a pattern or singular occurrence of physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse. Negative health consequences can result from experiencing teen dating violence, such as poor academic performance, drug and alcohol use, mental health challenges, and suicide. Dating abuse is a widespread problem; nationally up to 40% of teens have been in abusive relationships and of those that have, 43% experienced abuse while at school. It is critical that schools adopt policies to address this abuse. We support legislation that would require the department of education to develop and distribute model dating violence policies to assist all schools in developing policies for dating violence. These policies would include provisions laying out how proper accommodations should be made for targets of abuse. It should also address how a school should handle protective orders held by students. A dating abuse coordinator should be designated in the school staff to handle complaints and requests dealing with such dating abuse. The policy should also address confidentiality issues surrounding victims of abuse and school staff. Schools must get involved because teens are statistically at a higher risk for intimate partner abuse than adults. If domestic violence is ever going to be stopped we must start with our teens where they are most likely to be influenced-- at school.
The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued a ruling in Iowa v. Cashen which has the effect of allowing defendants in criminal cases to have access to privileged records of their victims in order to establish a defense. The protocol states that a defendant must make a showing to the court that the defendant has a reasonable basis to believe the records are likely to contain evidence tending to create a reasonable doubt to the defendant’s guilt. The outcome of this case may ultimately cause victims to deny themselves vital physical and mental healthcare out of fear that the information could be used against them in court. Iowa should amend its laws dealing with privileged communications to ensure that victim’s rights to confidentiality are protected.
We are currently encouraging our supporters to let their Senators and Representatives know how important it is to support funding for Victims' and Domestic Violence services. In a struggling economy, defunding regularly occurs. Let your elected officials know that you support this work and support funding.
Contact your Iowa Legislator
Email: Go to the Iowa Legislative Webpage. On the right hand side is a place to enter your address and find your legislator.
For more information of how ICADV is working with the Iowa Legislature, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.