Area of Law:
Domestic violence is more than a legal problem; it also can be a physical and mental health issue. People who find themselves in domestic violence situations often require more than just legal assistance to remove themselves from these situations. Iowa has organizations available to help victims regarding all facets of domestic violence.
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or ICADV, has a wealth of free legal aid available at its website, as well as a twenty-four hour statewide hotline, which can be reached at, 1-800-942-0333. According to ICADV, the definition of domestic violence is not individual isolated events. Rather, it is a repeated pattern of behavior made by the same abuser against the same victim. Domestic violence can take one or more forms, including psychological, physical, and sexual. In 2008, the ICADV reports that 22,508 victims of domestic violence received services with 82,077 calls being made to the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault hotline. Since 1995, domestic abuse murders have taken 108 Iowan lives.
Twenty-eight agencies across the state of Iowa are members of ICADV and provide domestic violence programs to individuals in their respective geographic areas. The ICADV website presents information addressing possible causes of domestic violence to help visitors gain a better understanding when they are seeking legal help. The website provides free legal help to determine if you have been a victim of domestic violence with a “yes” or “no” response quiz. Answers to the quiz, which may indicate that you are or at risk of being in an abusive relationship, include the presence of jealousy, insults, demands, angering friends and family, violence, use of violence to express courage, and threats in the relationship. ICADV provides information regarding domestic abuse programs and agencies throughout the state in northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest and central Iowa.
The ICADV website also offers free legal assistance in the form of downloadable and printable brochures addressing the different forms of domestic violence, including such domestic violence perpetrated by a spouse, parents and friends. It also offers free legal support via various domestic violence fact sheets and reports. Additionally, it offers free legal services with free legal forms, including those necessary for filing the following types of protective orders: a Temporary Protective Order, a Protective Order Following Adjudication of Domestic Abuse, and a Petition for Relief from Domestic Abuse. These forms can be located at: http://icadv.org/mem_lib.asp.
Iowa participates in the DELTA PREP program through the Center for Disease Control. DELTA PREP stands for Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances Preparing and Raising Expectations for Prevention. Its website is: http://www.icadv.org/prevention.asp.
Attorneys who would be best suited to provide legal services regarding domestic abuse are those with experience in family law. A list of attorneys providing family law legal support can be found at: http://www.iowabar.org/AttorneyOnLine.nsf/results?ReadForm&c2=&a=Family%20Law. Individuals who find themselves to be victims of domestic abuse often require financial assistance to assist them with their legal issues. The Iowa Legal Aid website provides contact information for its agencies located throughout the state.
Domestic violence can be a mentally debilitating, physically injuring, and sometimes lethal problem for everyone involved. It is rarely simply just a legal problem. Fortunately, Iowa has several agencies located throughout the state to help victims with the legal and other facets of domestic violence.