Can I "violate" my own order?
Although in most states, a petitioner cannot “violate” his/her own order since the order puts limits on an abuser’s behavior, not the victim’s behavior, Iowa is different. In Iowa, victims with protective orders can be held in contempt for “aiding and abetting” in the violation of their own protective orders. The petition makes the plaintiff check off a box that says: “I also understand that I could be arrested, jailed, and fined if I initiate or voluntarily maintain any contact with Defendant in violation of the order, or if I otherwise violate the protective order.” Basically, this means that if you have a no contact order or a stay away order and you decide to still talk to the abuser or see him/her, you can be charged with “helping” the abuser violate the order.1
It appears that this applies even to minors who have a protective order that was granted on their behalf. The petition, which is filled out by the minor’s parent or guardian, makes the petitioner check off a box that says “I…understand that my child could be arrested and jailed and fined if my child initiates or voluntarily maintains any contact with Defendant that is not allowed by the order or my child otherwise violates the Protective Order.”2
1 See Henley v. Iowa District Court for Emmet County, 533 N.W. 2d 199 (1995); see Petition for Relief from Domestic Abuse, page 13
2 See Petition for Relief from Domestic Abuse on Behalf of a Minor Child, page 14