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Know the Laws: Iowa

UPDATED September 18, 2015

Elder Abuse Protective Orders

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Someone who is at least 60 years old can petition the court for a protective order due to elder abuse.  If the victim of elder abuse cannot file for it, a "substitute petitioner" can file on his/her behalf.  A substitute petitioner can be a family or household member, guardian, conservator, attorney in fact, guardian ad litem, or other interested person.*

“Elder abuse” is defined as any of the following:

  • physical injury, unreasonable confinement, unreasonable punishment, or assault;
  • a sexual offense;
  • neglect, which means when a caretaker deprives the elder of the necessary minimum food, shelter, clothing, supervision, or physical or mental health care, or other care necessary to maintain a the elder's life or health; or
  • financial exploitation.**

The petition can be filed in the district court where the elder or the abuser lives.  There is no cost to file the petition or to have the sheriff serve the petition.***

The judge can issue a temporary order, which will last for up to 15 days until the court hearing or an emergency order can be issued during non-business hours, which can last up to 72 hours.  A final protective order can last for up to one year but can be extended as many times as needed.  The judge can extend an order if, after a hearing, the judge believes that the abuser continues to pose a threat to the safety of the elder, to people who live with the elder, or to members of the elder's immediate family, or that the abuser continues to present a risk to the elder of financial exploitation.**** To read about the protections that a judge can include in a protective order, you can read IA ST § 235F.6 on our IA Statutes page.

* See IA ST § 235F.1(17); IA ST § 235F.1(15)
** IA ST § 235F.1(5)(a)
*** IA ST §§ 235F.2(1); 235F.2(3)(a),(b) 
**** IA ST §§ 235F.5(1); 235F.7(1),(2); 235F.6(5)

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