The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) urge Attorney General Bird to continue allowing state victim compensation funds to cover contraception and abortion care for rape victims. Plan B works to prevent unintended pregnancy by preventing ovulation and is a highly effective contraceptive method to help rape victims avoid unintended pregnancy.
Every state, including Iowa, established a state victim compensation fund as one way to hold offenders accountable. State victim compensation funds collect fines, fees, and penalty payments paid by offenders resulting from prosecutions and use these non-taxpayer funds to compensate crime victims for the costs incurred because of a crime. No general taxpayer dollars go into the state victim compensation fund, i.e., these non-taxpayer offender accountability funds are separate from taxpayer funds appropriated by legislators each year in the state budget process.
The Iowa Sexual Abuse Examination Payment Program (SAE) covers the cost of forensic examinations provided to victims of rape and sexual abuse and is funded by the victim compensation fund. Forensic exams are essential to the prosecution of sexual abuse crimes, to collecting evidence that can help identify offenders and prevent them from harming multiple victims, and to improving access to medical care for victims. Ensuring victims are not responsible for the cost of a forensic exam or for medications required due to the assault is key to encouraging victims to undergo this extremely invasive medical exam as soon as possible after a violent assault. Most victim compensation payments made on behalf of victims of sexual abuse are for juvenile victims of sexual abuse. (CVAD Annual Report, pp.6-7)
Victims of rape and child abuse have an acute need for timely access to health services, including contraception, to prevent unintended pregnancy and abortion care. Cost should never be a barrier for rape victims seeking medical care. Using offender accountability victim compensation funds to cover the cost of forensic exams incentivizes victims to undergo an invasive exam that can help prevent offenders from victimizing others and enhance access to medical care for crime victims. This is a good public policy consistent with medical ethics and standards of care. We always urge policymakers to help support crime victims by eliminating barriers to accessing support services and to avoid policies creating new ones. And in this instance, we urge AG Bird to enhance access to services and healing for rape victims.
Our promise to Iowa crime victims must be clear: when you come forward for help and support, it will be available. We can do better. Access to housing is the #1 barrier to safety and stability for victims leaving an abusive home or recovering from a violent crime and the most requested support when seeking assistance from a local service provider. Still, two bills that reduce barriers to safe housing for crime victims – and all Iowans – and received overwhelming bi-partisan support at the Iowa Legislature appear unlikely to pass this session.
But there is still time for Iowa legislators to provide meaningful support for crime victims. The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) and the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) urge Iowa legislators to approve a state budget investing $10 million in state funds for crime victim support services. Current state funding of $5 million is woefully insufficient to meet the demand for support services. It is wholly inadequate for keeping our promise to crime victims of enhancing access to the comprehensive support they need and deserve.
Collectively, the Coalitions represent a nationally recognized network of 26 local victim service provider agencies supporting victims of violent crime, including families impacted by homicide; survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including stalking, rape, and child abuse; and survivors of human trafficking. Most of the 55,000 victims* who sought support from Iowa victim service provider agencies last year received support from one of these agencies. (2022 Victim Assistance Annual Report*)
These local programs provide free, confidential services to crime victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Beyond the obvious importance of providing crisis assistance, when service providers help victims avoid homelessness, maintain stable employment, and keep children in school, it eases the workload of other community service providers. When these agencies assist law enforcement at crime scenes or help victims navigate legal proceedings, they enable the criminal justice system to serve victims better. In short, investing state dollars in local programs helps victims recover, which improves economic stability and helps Iowa communities.
Everyone cares about victims, just like everyone wants safe communities and Iowans to be housed and safe in their homes. But it takes money and people to provide that support. An investment of $10 million in state funds for crime victim support services helps create communities where victims feel safe and supported.
October 13, 2022
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is hosting their 2nd Annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Tribute on Saturday, October 15, 2022, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). The event will occur from 1-4 p.m. at
Water Works Park in Des Moines.
This year’s Tribute will include live music from Calle Sur, spoken word performances, children’s activities, a community resource fair, chocolate and pan dulce – traditional Dia de los Muertos treats, and a free COVID-19 Mobile Clinic hosted by Primary Health Care, Inc., and the Refugee & Immigrant Vaccine Alliance (RIVA) in partnership with L.U.N.A., and ICADV. The event and all activities are free.
The Coalition invites the community to join them in remembering the names, faces, and stories of individuals who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. Attendees are welcome to bring a photograph of a loved one to place on this year's Ofrenda (altar) designed by Dawn Martinez Oropeza, Jennifer Cardenas-Hernandez, Ivy Florez, and |drēm|sēd|, a youth-led business created by young people from Al Éxito, to honor and elevate the stories and names of individuals who have been taken from their families and communities too soon.
Request to Governor Reynolds to support Iowa crime victims goes unanswered as local service providers brace for full impact of massive loss in federal funding
April 7, 2022
Due to a catastrophic cut in federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance grant funding to Iowa in FY 2021, local crime victim service providers statewide recently received official notice from Iowa’s Crime Victim Assistance Division (CVAD) to expect a devasting 15-22 percent funding cut to provide support services to crime victims in the upcoming year. This is on top of an 8 percent funding cut this year. CVAD estimates 28,000 fewer Iowa crime victims will receive services due to a lack of funding over the next two years.
Governor Reynolds has an opportunity to support survivors and mitigate the impact of the federal funding loss through an allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds available to Iowa. Last spring, the state's leading voices against gender violence, the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV), Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA), and the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change (ICCC), submitted a request for ARPA funds to the Governor. It outlined the impending cuts to the VOCA victim assistance grants and the massive impact it will have on victims of violence. After several meetings with Governor Reynolds’s staff and outreach to her office from the Coalition's network of 29 statewide programs, she has not responded to this request. Victims of violent crimes face several challenges after their victimization. Access to crisis response and stabilizing services should not be one of them.
Iowa Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Case that Could Undo Iowans Constitutional Right to Abortion
February 23, 2022
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence will join Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Iowa Abortion Advocate Rue Monroe in a virtual news conference today, February 23, 2022, at 2 p.m. to discuss oral arguments and the potential impact of the case on abortion access in Iowa.
The Court will decide whether to uphold an earlier ruling by the Court in a case that found a 72-hour waiting period unconstitutional and established Iowans’ constitutional right to abortion. The current case regarding a similar 24-hour waiting period comes as federal abortion protections hang by a thread, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade. If Roe falls, states would decided the future of abortion access. In the absence of federal and state constitutional protections, Iowa lawmakers would have the unchecked authority to further restrict abortion access, which legislators have made clear is their intention.
“Reproductive health services are an essential component of routine medical care for all birthing people, including abortion care,” said Dr. Maria Corona, Executive Director, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Barriers to abortion access threaten the autonomy of all birthing people and eliminates health care options and reproductive freedom creating more harm and systemic violence.”
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded $135,000 grant to advance financial security for survivors from GreenState Credit Union
February 18, 2022
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) received a three-year commitment from GreenState Credit Union to support survivors of domestic violence. The $135,000 grant will support ICADV's financial empowerment program that allows survivors to move from short-term safety in an unsafe relationship to long-term financial security.
"While less commonly understood or talked about, financial abuse is one of the most powerful tactics a person will use to keep someone in an unsafe relationship," says Dr. Maria Corona, executive director of ICADV. "Thanks to the support of GreenState Credit Union, our team and network of statewide victim service advocates can provide resources and financial empowerment courses to guide survivors towards a safe and secure future."
Nationally, 99 percent of domestic violence victims experience financial abuse, and it’s one of the main reasons victims stay or return to an abusive relationship. Financial abuse includes tactics such as restricting access to financial accounts, limiting access to cash or credit cards, ruining a partner’s credit, or preventing a partner from working. To help survivors work past these issues, ICADV offers economic empowerment courses that work to create prosperous communities where survivors are empowered to break the cycle of domestic violence and financial abuse.
“We admire the incredible work ICADV is doing throughout the state and are happy to support them in their mission,” states Tara Wachendorf, VP/Public Relations for GreenState Credit Union. “Financial empowerment is a major focus for us in many capacities, and we look forward to this new partnership.”
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence hosting Annual Dia de los Muertos Tribute to raise awareness for
October 20, 2021
DES MOINES, Iowa – October 20, 2021 – The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is hosting their Annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Tribute on Saturday, October 23, 2021, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). The event will occur from 1-4 p.m. at La Placita, 1524 E. Grand Avenue in Des Moines.
This year’s Tribute will include live music, guest speakers, children’s activities, Catrin and Catrina Contests, and hot chocolate and pan dulce – traditional Dia de los Muertos treats. The Coalition invites the community to join them in remembering the names, faces, and stories of individuals who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. Attendees are welcome to bring a photograph of a loved to place on our ofrenda (alter) to honor and elevate the stories and names of individuals who have been taken from their families and communities too soon.
“Gender-based violence is a public health issue with serious consequences to individuals, families and communities,” says Dr. Maria Corona, executive director of ICADV. “Supporting victims of crime takes all of us, and our Annual Dia de los Muertos Tribute is the perfect opportunity for our community to come together, recognize and support the stories and experiences of individuals who have experienced violence.”
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence hosting Annual Dia de los Muertos Tribute to raise awareness for
October 18, 2021
WHAT: The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is hosting their Annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Tribute in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).
WHEN/ WHERE: Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 1 to 4 p.m. at La Placita, 1524 E. Grand Avenue in Des Moines.
OVERVIEW: This year’s Tribute will include live music, guest speakers, children’s activities, Catrin and Catrina Contests, and hot chocolate and pan dulce – traditional Dia de los Muertos treats. The Coalition invites the community to join them in remembering the names, faces, and stories of individuals who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. Attendees are welcome to bring a photograph of a loved one to place on our ofrenda (alter) to honor and elevate the stories and names of individuals who have been taken from their families and communities too soon. Admission and activities are free, and masks are required.
Pre-registration for the Catrin and Catrina Contests is required. Please visit www.icadv.org to register.
Isabel Martinez Santos receives 2021 Diane Reese Excellence in Advocacy in the Movement (DREAM) Award
October 6, 2021
Isabel Martinez Santos, co-director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (ICADV) Legal Clinic and Bi-lingual DOJ Accredited representative, is the 2021 recipient of the Diane Reese Excellence in Advocacy in the Movement (DREAM) Award from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).
The DREAM Award is annually bestowed upon an individual who incorporates and demonstrates the spirit and promise of true advocacy in all aspects of their life – a person who emulates Ms. Reese’s commitment to clear and ethical communication, her eagerness to collaborate in the spirit of true partnership, and her deep respect for the dignity, worth, and humanity in each one of us.
“Isabel’s outstanding commitment, passion, and bridge-building encapsulate the essence of this award,” says Deborah J. Vagins, President and CEO of NNEDV. “We applaud Isabel’s commitment to survivors, tireless work, and dedication to meaningful change. On behalf of NNEDV and the DREAM Award Selection Committee, we are proud to recognize Isabel with this year’s DREAM award and are grateful to work alongside her in the anti-violence movement.”
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.”