Who can get a sexual abuse protective order? Can a minor get an order?
You can file for a sexual abuse restraining order if you are the victim of sexual abuse, as defined by law. You can also file on behalf of a minor if you are the minor’s parent or guardian.1
1 IA ST § 236A.3(1)
Can I get a sexual abuse protective order against a minor?
You can file a petition against a minor. However, the case will be heard in juvenile court instead of the district court.1 You may want to contact the district court before filing to check if you would file your petition in district court or in juvenile court.
1 IA ST § 236A.3(4)
What are the steps involved with getting a sexual abuse restraining order?
The steps to get a sexual assault restraining order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order, but you may fill out different paperwork. If you have questions, you can call the clerk of court or talk to a lawyer. You can find the contact information for local courthouses on the IA Courthouse Locations page and for lawyers on the IA Finding a Lawyer page.
Do I need a lawyer for my case?
You are not required to have a lawyer to get a sexual abuse protective order. However, it can be helpful to have a lawyer at future court dates, especially if the abuser has a lawyer or if the case goes to trial. A lawyer can help with presenting evidence, questioning your witnesses, and cross-examining the abuser. If you do not have the money to pay for a lawyer, you may contact a local legal services organization to see if they can represent you. Another option may be to ask the county attorney’s office for help. Their office may be able to help you with:
- getting the forms;
- filling out the forms and any other court paperwork;
- filing your court forms;
- presenting evidence to the judge;
- enforcing the order; and
- possibly any additional assistance necessary.1
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
1 IA ST § 236A.5
Can I change, extend, or cancel my order?
You can file a “Request to Modify, Cancel, or Extend a Sexual Abuse Final Protective Order” in court and the judge will set a hearing date where both you and the abuser can present evidence.
If you are asking the judge to extend the order, s/he can extend it for up to one year is s/he finds that the abuser still poses a threat to your safety, the safety of someone who lives with you, or the safety of members in your immediate family. The abuser must have a chance to participate in a hearing on your request to extend the order. The judge can grant as many extensions as s/he finds necessary.1
1 IA ST § 236A.7(2)