What if I don't qualify for a protective order?
If the abuser has been arrested, you may be able to get a no contact order. A no contact order is issued in criminal court following the arrest for domestic abuse, assault, stalking, harassment, sexual abuse, or violation of a protective order.1 The victim does not need to file for this, as a judge will automatically consider it. The judge may give the abuser a no contact order before the abuser leaves the jail where s/he was held after the arrest.
A no-contact order could restrict the defendant from having contact with you (the victim), anyone living with you, or your immediate family -- this could include children that you have with the abuser. A no-contact order that requires the defendant to have no contact with your children will win out over any existing order which may conflict with the no-contact order (such as a visitation order).
A no-contact order is also supposed to specifically include notice that the abuser may be required to give up all firearms, offensive weapons, and ammunition if a permanent no-contact order is issued.2Note: A no contact order from a criminal case cannot give you custody of minor children. To get legal custody of children, you need to start a different case in civil court.
Each order is a little different so you should read it carefully and ask the county attorney if you have questions about what can or should happen.
Many victims fear that the no contact order will only make the abuser angrier. If you are concerned about this, you should talk to a domestic violence victim advocate and the county attorney. They may be able to help you develop a safety plan or may ask the judge to change the order so that it will not be as upsetting to the abuser. A no contact order should protect you anywhere you go in the United States.
1 IA ST § 664A.3(1)
2 IA ST § 664A.3(1), (4) - (6)