State’s decision to stop federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit program announced as Iowa is in the midst of a crisis for crime victims
May 12, 2021
DES MOINES – May 12, 2021 – We are deeply disappointed in yesterday’s announcement that Governor Reynolds will be ending federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs on June 12, 2021. These benefits have provided a lifeline to Iowans for more than a year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been referred to as a “great equalizer,” meaning, it can impact anyone at any time regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. But this virus has proven to be anything but this. In fact, it has exacerbated disparities within the systems individuals depend on – healthcare, shelter, food security and employment – and inequities that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income Iowans.
As the state’s leading voice against intimate partner violence, we represent the collective experience of people who dedicate their lives to serving victims of violent crime. Over a year into the pandemic, our programs are seeing an influx of survivors who are reaching out for support, including access to unemployment benefits to gain economic independence. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 99 percent of survivors identify economic/financial abuse as a barrier to safety and self-determination. Often times, when a survivor reaches out for help, several factors have already gone awry and unemployment benefits are not available or are very small. We know through our Match Savings Program that just a few hundred dollars can make all of the difference for a survivor. Limiting access to systems and resources that can help to curb this form of abuse causes additional stress and harm for survivors, and makes them more vulnerable to violence and unsafe situations.
Today’s announcement could not have come at a worse time as we are in the midst of a crisis for survivors. Impending funding cuts to Iowa over the next two years means our network of victim service providers – including our agency – may need to reduce staff and post-crisis comprehensive services, or, close their doors entirely. As a result, 28,000 fewer victims of crime will be supported.
Unemployment benefits alone will not solve the issue of financial abuse; we need long term systems change to provide economic security – increase in minimum wage, equal pay and paid sick/emergency leave – in order for survivors to build strong financial foundations. This loss of the increased benefit in unemployment is just one more blow to survivors who have already been victimized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to expand structural solutions to address the epidemic of intimate partner violence, not discontinue vital resources that support and empower survivors in the future.
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence Staff and Board of Directors
April 14, 2021
DES MOINES – April 14, 2021 – As advocates for social change, we know that all forms of violence and oppression are interconnected and directly impact the ability of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to be safe.
We cannot ignore the event that occurred on April 8, 2021, when a Norwalk high school student was arrested at the Iowa State Capitol as she exercised her right to speak out against numerous pieces of oppressive legislation designed to suppress and inhibit the right to free speech, enhance penalties for peaceful protestors, and extend immunity protections for law enforcement.
Video and eye-witness accounts to the arrest of the young high school student once again put a spotlight on the excessive response BIPOC receive when they gather together – even with a permit AND permission – to protest. Here in Iowa and across the country, we have seen a pattern of violence aimed at silencing BIPOC protestors that has been re-traumatizing for so many who have experienced systemic violence and inequality their entire lives. What kind of message does this send to young people about their right to speak out and have their voices heard? Are the rights of individuals to speak freely and assemble only guaranteed for certain words and certain people?
We represent the collective experience of people who dedicate their lives to serving victims of violent crime. Violence is not a single-issue problem. Systemic, cultural, and generational inequalities are root causes of violence, as well as barriers to safety and self-determination that disproportionately harm BIPOC communities. If we want to end and prevent violence, we must prioritize systems change that is rooted in equity, racial, social, and transformative justice.
We will continue to do our part to interrupt and work towards eradicating all forms of violence, including excessive force against anyone exercising their freedoms, liberties and right to demonstration. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we use our collective strength to come together and create a world where people thrive and voices are heard.
Dr. Maria Corona, executive director, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Luana Nelson-Brown, executive director, Iowa Coalition for Collective Change
What is Love Art Contest launched to raise awareness for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
February 8, 2021
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), a national effort focused on advocacy and education to prevent dating violence before it starts. It is also a time to promote safe and healthy relationships by talking about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors, recognizing the warning signs, connecting adolescents to support and identifying innovative strategies to prevent dating abuse. In recognition of TDVAM, the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) wants to raise awareness by hosting a What is Love art contest, beginning today, Feb. 8 through
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
The What is Love art contest is open to all Iowa High School students, ages 14-18. Participants can submit a piece of artwork that expresses their idea of "What is Love? into two categories:
2D Art: painting, sketch, short essay, photography, digital or mixed media
Video: spoken word poetry, skit, song or short film (maximum 3 minutes)
Three entries in each of the two categories will receive a cash prize. First place will be $200 and the second and third runner up will each receive $50. All participants will have their artwork highlighted on ICADV's digital and print platforms, awareness campaigns and a variety of materials.
Dr. Maria Corona named executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
January 7, 2021
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is proud to announce that Dr. Maria Corona has been hired as the new executive director. In this role, Dr. Corona will use her extensive experience of community organizing, advocacy and passion for social and racial justice to continue the transformation of domestic violence services and response in Iowa to create the conditions where every person can thrive.
“Maria exemplifies the direction that ICADV has been moving in and continue moving towards. Her personal and professional experience provides her with a keene insight into where barriers exist and where there are opportunities to revamp and re-envision the next iteration of victim services,” says Monserrat Iniguez, chair of ICADV’s Board of Directors. “The conditions our communities exist in created a powerful leader in Maria, and I am excited to work alongside her to bring the Coalition's work to the next level.”
54 civil right organizations and community service providers request immediate and sustained interventions from Governor Reynolds for long-term housing and economic crisis
November 9, 2020
Fifty-four civil rights organizations and community service providers have submitted a letter to Governor Reynolds requesting immediate and sustained interventions for long-term housing and economic crisis and to build upon the state's Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program that was established to provide up to four months of rental payments to landlords on behalf of households struggling to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud the early interventions the Governor put in place to protect Iowans from evictions, however, additional assistance is needed now more than ever. As the devastating consequences of the pandemic continue, and the federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is set to expire December 31, 2020, the 54 undersigned organizations urge Governor Reynolds to act swiftly to build upon these efforts and protect Iowans.
Scholarship program to empower survivors of intimate partner violence celebrates 10-year anniversary
October 30, 2020
Four hundred and eighty-nine survivors of intimate partner violence have had the opportunity to change their futures thanks to the Alice Barton Scholarship Program. Now in the tenth year, the program awards recipients with a $2,000 scholarship to be used towards tuition, books and fees for classes, and a portion may be used to pay other expenses which support the survivor’s education and job training efforts, such as child-care or transportation.
"Receiving the Alice Barton Scholarship was an integral part of the process of rebuilding a life for myself and my young daughter,” says Joyna*, a recipient of the Alice Barton Scholarship Program. “I knew I had to further my education in order to overcome one of the greatest obstacles victims face when breaking free from domestic violence, economic disparity between the abuser and the abused.”
The Alice Barton Scholarship Program is possible thanks to the generosity and support of Roxanne Conlin, a prominent Des Moines attorney and philanthropist; in collaboration with her brother, Raymond Barton, founder and Chairman of the Board of Great Clips, Inc.; and her sister, Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips, Inc., to honor their mother, Alice Barton, a survivor of intimate partner violence.
ICADV Statement on Covid-19 and Next Steps
March 13, 2020
Dear Community Partners and Friends,
We’ve all been experiencing a bombardment of information regarding the COVID-19 situation here in Iowa, in our country and across the globe. Here at the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) we know that violence takes no break even at times like these and in fact, families will experience an elevated level of stress due to absences from work, school closings and the realities of this illness. We have carefully considered the advisories coming out of the CDC, the Iowa Department of Health and other partners, and for that reason, ICADV is closing its physical office beginning Monday, March 23 through March 30,2020, dialing back our physical presence in many spaces and working remotely.
Here’s what will continue from our end:
ICADV staff will be working each day. Though we will be working from our homes, we will be available during normal working hours – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. –conducting virtual meetings and the like. Our office phones are set for call forwarding so you can reach us by just calling our office, 515-244-8028. If no one answers, leave a message and the voicemail will be forwarded to the staff person’s e-mail for response. As always, the quickest response may come through e-mail.
We will continue to function in relationship to our 22 Member Organizations, offering to convene conversations, advocate on their behalf and we will be in contact with them as this situation unfolds.
We will continue our presence at the legislature for vital work to support our legislative priorities, unless the capital is closed, the illness becomes more widespread or affects the
Here’s what may look different:
Meetings may be cancelled, rescheduled for a later date or move from in-person to virtual. We will let you know as the meetings come up.
Any previously schedule trainings will be postponed or provided virtually.
Although it seems like many of our partners are also moving meetings to virtual platforms, for those who are not, we will evaluate the risk for exposure and will determine if we should attend in person or ask to participate using technology.
Here at ICADV we are taking COVID-19 seriously and recognizing that we are members of a community filled with people who may be at a significantly higher risk that the average Iowan.
We believe we can meet the needs of our constituents while simultaneously minimizing the risk to our staff and to all with whom we come in contact. By centering the most vulnerable among us, we feel that we are taking an active role in preventing the spread of this disease.
We also recognize the incredible privilege that comes with this action and we are working actively to use our voice to support Iowans who have no paid time off, who are looking at the prospect of lost wages, who are vulnerable and have few resources. We welcome anyone who wants to be in community
Laurie Schipper, Executive Director
On behalf of the entire ICADV staff
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence to host 5th Annual Wine, Women and Shoes® this
Saturday, October 26, 2019
October 24, 2019
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (ICADV) 5th annual Wine ,Women and Shoes event is set for this Saturday, October 26, 2019, at The Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona from 6-9:30 p.m.
Guests at this year’s event will enjoy local and national wines, a VIP shopping experience with five local boutiques, exclusive raffles, live and silent auction, seated dinner and high-energy fashion show. One hundred percent of proceeds raised go towards programming, services and solutions for victims of intimate partner violence. The event is also an opportunity for ICADV's staff and Board of Directors to highlight the tireless work that they are doing each and everyday to prevent domestic violence from impacting one more Iowan.
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) ask legislators to vote NO to HHS health care access and education amendment
April 26, 2019
Today, the Iowa Senate introduced an extreme amendment to the Health and Human Services budget bill that undermines access to health care and health education for Iowans. This harmful legislation excludes specific health services for trans Iowans under Medicaid and prevents Planned Parenthood from competitive bidding on sexual education grants.
As a survivor-centered organization that oversees direct services in every Iowa county to victims of violent crime, ICADV believes that protecting access to health care and health information is imperative to ALL Iowans.
Transgender Iowans experience health care disparities due to systemic unequal treatment in access to care, access to providers, and inability to afford health coverage. Medicaid is a critical source of health care for trans Iowans and excluding essential health services from Medicaid for transgender Iowans is a shameful and targeted attack on these individuals. Additionally, educating young people about
age-appropriate sexual health topics not only keeps them healthy, but it also helps prevent relationship violence. Importantly, trans individuals and young people experience disproportionate rates of violence.
Adding exclusions to Iowa’s civil rights law flies in the face of the values embodied in Iowa law and excluding our state’s most experienced educators from programs that protect health and prevent violence is shameful.
Iowa doesn’t need this. Iowa is a national leader in enacting laws that proactively address discrimination and strike the right balance between protecting rights and accommodating freedoms. This proposal means a retreat from Iowa’s commitment to equality and undermines access to essential health information and care and we urge legislators to reject this amendment.
How NOT to Commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 8-14, 2018
April 12, 2018
Thanks to a proclamation signed by Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa joined communities nationwide commemorating National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), April 8-14, 2018. This year’s theme, Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims, emphasizes the importance of inclusion and the need to “ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support.” Governor Reynold’s NCVRW proclamation acknowledges that “serving all victims of crime is essential to thriving communities, yet there are still too many without meaningful access to rights and services,” and that “many face barriers – such as isolation, language limitations, distrust of the system, lack of transportation or cultural barriers – that keep them from accessing the services and systems that can help them recover.”
Indeed. The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) represents 21 agencies providing direct services in every Iowa county to victims of violent crimes. We couldn’t agree more with both the theme for NCVRW and concerns sited in Iowa’s well-intentioned proclamation. However, ICADV couldn’t be more disappointed that SF 481, a harmful anti-immigration bill was signed into law this week of all weeks, and that legislation known as “Marsy’s Law” (HJR 2010/SJR 2010) proposing an amendment to Iowa’s constitution establishing rights for crime victims may be considered soon. We believe these two proposals send the exact opposite message of inclusion to crime victims. ICADV member programs served more than 35,000 victims of domestic violence last year and employ service providers with several thousand years of combined experience assisting crime victims.
Iowans to make case to legislators for sustained funding necessary for survivor services
February 20, 2018
The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV), along with 25 sexual assault and domestic violence programs across the state, will be at the Iowa State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 21, to speak to elected officials. Advocates and survivors alike will discuss important issues about sexual violence and domestic assault with legislators to make a solid case for sustained funding for victim services across the state.
“State funding is essential to Iowa’s continued success,” says Beth Barnhill, executive director for IowaCASA. “Together, state and federal funding supports programs that increase safety for survivors of sexual violence and domestic assault. Any potential cuts to these programs severely undermines Iowa’s unique success in serving survivors. Cutting significant funding would unfortunately have immediate, harmful consequences for survivors – especially in rural, underserved communities.”
"It's imperative that legislators understand how important sustained funding for programs is," adds Laurie Schipper, executive director for ICADV. "Cuts to funding strike a fatal blow to life-saving services survivors, families and communities depend on from our network of statewide victim service programs.”
Starting in 2013, in an effort to address the need for sustained funding and to enhance the availability of comprehensive services statewide, Iowa policymakers invested in a more effective service delivery model that prioritized increased access to services in rural and underserved communities. Victim service providers delivered on these goals with stunning success – 45% more survivors of domestic violence and 125% more survivors of sexual assault have received services between 2013-2016.
However, in spite of these numbers, statewide victim services endured a 25% state funding cut last year, diminishing Iowa’s capacity to provide accessible, comprehensive and culturally-competent services. Any additional funding cuts will put a survivor in more danger as access to services and safety options will continue to be limited.
Iowans to make case to legislators for sustained funding necessary for survivor services
February 15, 2018
WHAT: The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) will join 25
sexual assault and domestic violence programs at the State Capitol to discuss important issues about sexual violence and
domestic assault with legislators to make a solid case for sustained funding for victim services across the state.
WHEN: Wednesday, February 21, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol
WHY: Starting in 2013, in an effort to address the need for sustained funding and to enhance the availability of comprehensive services
statewide, Iowa policymakers invested in a more effective service delivery model that prioritized increased access to services in
rural and underserved communities. Victim service providers delivered on these goals with stunning success – 45% more
survivors of domestic violence and 125% more survivors of sexual assault have received services from 2013- 2016.
However, in spite of these numbers, statewide victim services endured a devastating 25% state funding cut last year, diminishing
Iowa’s capacity to provide accessible, comprehensive and culturally-relevant services. Any additional funding cuts will leave rural
counties without access to any victim services.
Twenty-four victim service providers stand in opposition of Iowa’s “Marsy’s Law”
February 13, 2018
DES MOINES, Iowa – February 12, 2018 – Twenty-four victim service providers serving all 99 Iowa counties and more than 64,000 survivors in 2016 have released an open letter in opposition of a bill to amend the state’s constitution with “Marsy’s Law” (Senate Study Bill 3040 and House Joint Resolution 2003). These agencies are unwavering in their support for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes, however, they are concerned that Marsy’s Law, while well-intended, is unenforceable and creates false hope for survivors and their families.
FULL OPEN LETTER FROM STATEWIDE VICTIM SERVICE PROGRAMS: Why we oppose “Marsy’s Law”
As victim service providers who are members of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, we unconditionally support victims and survivors of violent crimes. We believe appropriate public policies should be in place to provide survivors with a sense of justice and healing. However, we do not believe legislation like “Marsy’s Law” (Senate Study Bill 3040 and House Joint Resolution 2003) can effectively meet the diverse needs of survivors and communities.
Marsy’s Law proposes amending Iowa's constitution to grant crime victims a series of rights and protections, but provides no meaningful way to exercise those rights. In fact, Iowa law already includes comprehensive victim rights and protections. Before amending the constitution, we should ensure survivors are aware of their rights, and that they have adequate support for the systems and programs that enable them to access their rights.
Although we believe Marsy's Law is well-intended, the language is unenforceable and creates false hope for survivors and their families. Additionally, we are concerned that Marsy's Law would divert resources away from systems and services that can meet the comprehensive needs of victims.
As victim service providers, we provide survivors in all 99 counties with 24/7 free and confidential support and resources. Currently, the state of Iowa provides us with $5 million in funding to go toward these services. These services experienced a devastating budget crisis during the last legislative session with a 25 percent cut in state funds. Additional cuts are expected in the current legislative session, which will affect how much money our programs can access on the federal level. This uncertainty makes it difficult for us to support survivors, especially those living in rural counties.
Meanwhile, $5-10 million is spent by lobbyists passing Marsy’s Law from state to state. That’s more money than the state of Iowa invests in sexual assault and domestic violence services combined. We have limited knowledge of the benefits or the cost such legislation would have in Iowa. We believe the price tag for this amendment is not in our state's best interest. We ask that our elected officials redirect their support toward comprehensive victim services that are already in place.
Crime victims and their families suffer terrible loss, and we fully support elevating their voices. Yet amending the constitution without funding the people and systems needed to ensure survivors can access services would be detrimental. The best way to help these survivors is with sustained funding of comprehensive services.
We believe Marsy’s Law is an ineffective response to the needs of Iowa crime victims. Clearly, we stand with legislators who want to help survivors. We must continue to work together to address gaps within the current system. Instead of passing Marsy's Law, we urge policymakers to support a task force that explores and responds to these gaps in a way that centers victims and their experiences, and provides a meaningful response.
Lisa Ambrose – Waterloo, IA
Executive Director, Amani Community Services
Comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault services for African American communities.
Ben Brustkern – Waverly, IA
Executive Director, Friends of the Family
Comprehensive shelter services for 14 counties.
Melissa Cano Zelayo – Des Moines, IA
Executive Director, L.U.N.A. (Latinas Unidas Services Por Un Nuevo Amanecer)
Comprehensive Sexual assault and domestic violence services for the Latino communities in Iowa.
Kimberly L. Clair – Tama, IA
Sexual Assault Coordinator, Meskwaki Victim Services
Comprehensive sexual assault and domestic violence services for the Meskwaki nation.
Carson Eggland – Decorah, IA
Executive Director – Helping Services – Domestic Abuse Resource Center
Comprehensive domestic violence services for 7 counties.
Kristi Fortmann-Doser – Iowa City, IA
Executive Director, Domestic Violence Intervention Program
Comprehensive domestic violence and emergency shelter services for 9 counties.
Virginia Griesheimer – Ames, IA
Interim Director, ACCESS – Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support
Comprehensive emergency housing assistance, sexual assault and domestic violence for 6 counties.
Nelly Hill – Cedar Rapids IA
Director of Domestic Violence Victim Services, Waypoint
Comprehensive domestic violence services for 7 counties.
Deb Hogan – Sioux City, IA
Outreach Coordinator, Council on Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence
Comprehensive domestic violence and emergency shelter services for counties in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Mary Ingham – Mason City, IA
Executive Director, Crisis Intervention Service
Comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault services in 15 counties.
Hibo Jama – Des Moines, IA
Executive Director, Nisaa African Family Services
Comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault services for African Immigrant and Refugee communities in Iowa.
Laurie Jensen – Des Moines, IA
Domestic Violence Services Coordinator, Children and Families of Iowa – Domestic Violence Services
Comprehensive domestic violence and emergency shelter services for 2 counties.
Shari Kastein – Sioux Center, IA
Executive Director, Family Crisis Centers
Comprehensive domestic violence services for 17 counties.
Jacquie Kehoe – Spencer, IA
Executive Director, Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault
Comprehensive sexual assault services for 19 counties.
Brenda McBride – Fort Dodge, IA
Executive Director, Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center
Comprehensive sexual assault, domestic violence and emergency shelter services for 20 counties.
Diane McKee – Council Bluffs, IA
Executive Director, Catholic Charities Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program
Comprehensive sexual assault, domestic violence and emergency shelter services for 9 counties.
Ashley Odom – Davenport, IA
Director of Survivor Services, SafePath Family Resources
Comprehensive sexual assault, domestic violence and emergency shelter services for 5 counties.
Nancy Robertson – Oskaloosa, IA
Executive Director, Crisis Intervention Services
Comprehensive sexual assault and emergency shelter services for 12 counties.
Adam Robinson – Iowa City, IA
Executive Director, Rape Victim Advocacy Program
Comprehensive sexual services for 9 counties.
Johna Sullivan – Adel, IA
Executive Director, Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center
Comprehensive sexual assault and domestic violence services for 10 counties.
Joey Taylor – Dubuque, IA
Executive Director, Riverview Center
Comprehensive sexual assault services for 14 counties.
Lorraine Uehling-Techel – Ottumwa, IA
Executive Director, Crisis Center & Women’s Shelter
Comprehensive domestic violence services for 14 counties.
Mira Yusef – Des Moines, IA
Executive Director, Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity
Comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault services for the Asian/Pacific Islander communities in Iowa.
Iowa Primary Care Association Receives Grant to Promote State-Level Policy and Systems Change to Improve Response to Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking
February 7, 2018
Iowa recently joined other leadership teams from Arkansas, Connecticut, and Idaho at a kick-off meeting in San Francisco, CA for “Project Catalyst: Statewide Transformation on Health and IPV,” led by national nonprofit Futures Without Violence (FUTURES). The Iowa State Leadership Team consists of the Iowa Primary Care Association, Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence working together to promote state-level policy and systems changes to improve response to intimate partner violence (IPV) and human trafficking in community health centers and domestic violence programs across the state.
From now until September 30, 2018, the Project Catalyst Iowa State Leadership Team will collaborate to:
promote state-level policy and systems changes that support an integrated and improved response to IPV and human trafficking in community health centers and to other needed services in domestic violence programs.
offer training and technical assistance to five community health centers and five domestic violence advocacy programs in Iowa that will partner with one another on trauma-informed practice transformation.
implement a vision and strategy to promote policies and practices that support ongoing integration of the IPV and human trafficking response into health care delivery statewide, and significant inroads into implementation of an action plan to train and engage at least 50 percent of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded health centers by the end of the project period.
Project Catalyst states will use comprehensive training curricula, health care provider resources, patient education materials, and quality improvement tools developed by FUTURES. This includes ipvhealthpartners.org, an online toolkit developed by and for community health centers and domestic violence agencies looking to forge or expand partnerships.
Proposal to amend Iowa’s Constitution could hinder resources to assist survivors of domestic violence
January 31, 2018
As a statewide leader responding to the needs and elevating the voices of all survivors impacted by intimate partner violence, the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) has serious concerns and strongly disagrees with a bill in the Iowa Senate and companion bill in the Iowa House, Iowa’s Marsy’s Law (SSB 3040/HJR 2003).
Iowa’s Marsys’ Law proposes to amend Iowa’s Constitution to include a Victim’s Rights Amendment (VRA) seeking to grant constitutional rights to crime victims equal to the accused. Iowa law already includes comprehensive victim rights and protections under Chapter 915, and the Coalition believes any flaws within the current legal system can be changed to protect survivors of intimate partner violence. However, once an amendment like Iowa’s Marsy’s Law is made to the state’s constitution, it is inflexible, as well as any current flaws.
“Our experience as a victim service agency has taught us that there are more efficient ways to help and heal survivors of domestic violence,” says Laurie Schipper, executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Establishing rights without legitimate remedy gives false hope to survivors and diverts resources away from systems and services that can meet the comprehensive needs of survivors across Iowa. Furthermore, we believe this bill negatively impacts a vast majority of survivors who do not, will not or cannot find safety or justice in our legal system.”
To view ICADV’s complete statement opposing Iowa’s Marsy’s Law, click here.