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As the state’s leading voice against intimate partner violence, we are proud to represent the voices and needs of our 22 local crime victim service provider agencies assisting Iowans in all 99 counties. Gender violence is not a single-issue program. We believe ending and preventing violence requires meeting the needs of all victims: investing in and ensuring access to comprehensive services, including multiple options for safety and healing; enhancing economic security, and addressing systemic inequalities creating barriers to well-being for individuals, families and communities.


2022 Legislative Agenda







Invest $10 million in services for ALL victims of violent crime - Ensure Access to Rights and Services.

State and federal funds support local agencies that create a path to a better future for crime victims. Federal funds enhance program capacity, but state funds support infrastructure that enables local agencies to provide comprehensive,
lifesaving services. 


  • Provide $10 million to victim services; amend state budget so funds also support victims of homicide and violent crime. Increased funds will help address significant unmet need and reduce disparities in access to services.

  • Improve Iowa victims’ rights law: ensure access to rights and services; allow crime victims paid time off to access health services, attend court proceedings, etc.

  • Support multiple options for responding to violence: community-informed approaches to safety, accountability, healing; prioritize access to housing, health care, economic security as paths to safety.


Enhance Economic Security and Safety

Economic insecurity compromises victim safety and undermines the ability to maintain stable housing and employment. The lack of affordable housing, livable wages, food, good schools, health care, and clean air/water in communities increases the risk of violence and creates barriers to well-being. Additionally, easy access to guns dramatically increases the lethality risk for victims & children in homes experiencing family violence.

  • Eliminate access barriers to affordable housing: seal eviction records for those who have not been evicted or if eviction occurred long ago; allow early lease termination for violent crime victims; promote housing non-discrimination; avoid penalizing victims for actions of abusive partners.

  • Bolster employment & financial security: promote prize-linked savings programs; enact paid leave; increase minimum wage; expand earned income and child-care tax credits.

  • Ensure employment non-discrimination and safety: enhance protections against workplace harassment and violence; ensure access to job protection and unemployment benefits for crime victims forced to relocate; enact fair chance hiring for Iowans with criminal records (ban the box).

  • Improve access to services meeting basic needs: reduce barriers to health care including mental and reproductive health services; expand eligibility and amount of nutrition assistance.


Promote Equality – Reduce barriers to well-being

Biases and disparities based on race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, criminal background, etc., impact how individuals experience violence and how systems and people respond and meet survivor’s needs. Prioritizing the needs of those carrying the heaviest burden of disparity helps all survivors.

  • Uphold Iowa civil rights law: oppose weakening anti-discrimination protections, e.g., religious exemptions or prohibitions reducing access to LGBTQ+ individuals.

  • Ensure access to rights and services: promote anti-discrimination protections in health access, housing, employment; ensure crime victims are not arrested for seeking safety; support criminal legal system reform including probation, parole, bail reform; disparities in sentencing; anti-profiling.

  • Enhance civic participation: reduce barriers to voting; approve constitutional amendment to permanently restore voting rights of Iowans with felony convictions.

To learn more about our legislative efforts, click here to be added to our Legislative Action Alerts, or contact our director of Public Policy, Laura Hessburg, at 515.244.8028.

National Legislature

We work with coalitions from all 50 states and the National Network to End Domestic Violence to support legislative change and federal funding for domestic violence services.


Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is the single largest funding source for emergency services for domestic violence victims and their children. FVPSA is administered from within the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and FVPSA funds life-saving emergency shelters, crisis lines, counseling, and victim assistance. For more information please visit:

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

VAWA was first passed in 1994 and created the first U.S. Federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes. In 2006, VAWA of 2005 was signed into law by former U.S. President George W. Bush. VAWA reauthorizes existing programs to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, and creates new programs to meet the emerging needs of communities working to prevent violence.The Violence Against Women Act will be up for reauthorization in 2011. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is maintaining a VAWA Prevention Group ListServe that is focused on providing feedback to the VAWA 2011 Prevention Team. The Team is comprised of Kiersten Stewart, Family Violence Prevention Fund (, Annette Clay, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (, and Terri Harper, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence ( Other organizations leading efforts to reauthorize other prevention-related elements of VAWA include the NNEDV and Break the Cycle. Sally Schaeffer from Family Violence Prevention Fund may be contacted regarding VAWA Health and VAWA Children and Youth (


Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)

Enacted by President Reagan in 1984, the Victims of Crime Act created the Crime Victims Fund as a non-taxpayer funding resource for services that help crime victims cope with the trauma and aftermath of the crime. VOCA funds consists of fines and penalties collected from federal offenders--not taxpayer dollars--which are distributed to states to support two types of programs: crime victim compensation programs and victim assistance programs.


For more information on VOCA, please visit the following websites:

FY22 Department of homeland security appropriations request

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