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Legal Information: Iowa

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 3, 2023

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

Violating a protective order is against the law. There are two ways to get help if the abuser violates the protective order.

Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal)
If the abuser violates the protective order, you can call 911 even if you think it is a minor violation. In some cases, the abuser can be arrested right away. Tell the officers you have a protective order and the abuser is violating it. The abuser can be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of violating the order in addition to any crimes s/he committed while violating it (such as assault, stalking, etc.)

It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. You may want to make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified in the future.

Through the Civil Court System (Civil)
You may file for civil contempt in the court that issued the order if the abuser violates the order in any way. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office and tell him/her you want to start contempt proceedings against the abuser. You will have to fill out some forms, which the court clerk will give you. You will also have to attend a court hearing to prove that the abuser violated the order.