Legal Information: Iowa

Restraining Orders

View all
October 29, 2021

Who can get a sexual abuse restraining order? Can a minor get an order?

You can file for a sexual abuse restraining order if you are the victim of sexual abuse. You can also file on behalf of an unemancipated minor if you are the minor’s parent or guardian.1 A minor is “unemancipated” if s/he is under the age of 18 and has not gone through the court process to be “emancipated,” which is when the judge decides that s/he is a legal adult even though s/he is under age 18.

1 IA ST § 236A.3(1)

Can I get a sexual abuse restraining order against a minor?

Yes. 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 restraining order. However, it can often be beneficial to have a lawyer at future court dates - especially if the abuser is not going to consent to the order being issued against him/her, and the judge must have a hearing (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

1 IA ST § 236A.5

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

Can I extend my order?

Yes. The judge may extend the order if 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)

WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.