Iowa lawmaker wants to make it harder for domestic and sexual violence victims to get protective orders

Iowa Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville. — illustration by Jordan Sellergren

Two bills recently introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives would make it harder for victims of domestic and sexual abuse to get temporary protective orders. Both bills, HF 2214 and HF 2246, were both introduced by Rep. Sandy Salmon, a Republican from Janesville. She is also currently the sole sponsor of both bills.

HF 2246, filed on Monday, would replace the current evidentiary standard for getting a temporary protective order, a preponderance of the evidence, and require the person seeking the order “prove an allegation of domestic abuse or sexual abuse beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“This would have a significant impact,” said Kristie Dozer, executive director of the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP). “In the last quarter of 2017 we worked with 42 victims who had who protection or restraining orders.”

DVIP, an Iowa City-based nonprofit, opened its first shelter for people threatened by domestic violence in 1980. It now covers eight counties in southeastern Iowa — Johnson, Iowa, Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Van Buren and Washington.

Dozer pointed out that there are other “no contact” orders under Iowa law, such as ones for victims of stalking or harassment, but this bill doesn’t change the standards for getting a temporary protective order in those cases.

“It’s dangerous, and kind of unfathomable, that someone would pick out one civil procedure, and say we’re going to have a higher evidentiary standard for one and not the others,” Dozer said.

Salmon’s other bill, HF 2214, also singles out people seeking protection in cases of domestic and sexual abuse.

Under current Iowa law, a hearing on a temporary protective order must be held “Not less than five and not more than fifteen days after commencing a proceeding and upon notice to the other party.” But a judge is permitted to extend that time period, if it is deemed necessary. The temporary protective order remains in effect during that time.

HF 2214 would strip judges of the power to extend the time period for those hearings, and automatically terminate any protective order if the hearing doesn’t occur within 15 days of the request for the order being filed.

“This is coming at a time when our legislature is looking at significant cuts to the courts,” Dozer noted.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady has warned that the state’s judicial system is being underfunded to the point that it will likely start impacting the ability of ordinary Iowans to have full access to the court system. Last month, Courts Administrator Todd Nuccio said that 30 county courthouses across the state will have to close if the legislature doesn’t increase funding for the court system.

And those are the only funding cuts that have an impact of victims of domestic and sexual violence in Iowa, Dozer explained.

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“This is coming at time when victim services have been cut 25 percent last year, and we’re looking at additional cuts for this fiscal year,” Dozer said. “We’re also looking at potential cuts for the coming year.”

Little Village left voicemail messages and sent emails to Salmon asking her to answer questions about her bills, but has received no reply.

HF 2214 and HF 2246 have been referred to the Judiciary Committee of the Iowa House.


  1. Rep. Salmon: WTF? Are these bills (HF’s 2214 & 2246) your idea, or were you enticed by some Lobby group? What is your point here, what are you trying to say? Your constituents, women, want to know.

  2. Rep. Salmon: WTF? Are these bills (HF’s 2214 & 2246) your idea, or were you enticed by some Lobby group? What is your point here, what are you trying to say? Your constituents, women, want to know.

  3. What the hell is her problem?
    She has good insurance perhaps she should utilize the mental health portion.

  4. As a survivor of Domestic Assult I am totally enraged at this very dangerous position. Minimize the depths of Assults as if they should just be swept under that dirty old Republican rug!

  5. At at time when abuse and assault are on the increase, and women are beginning to be heard, this is ludicrous!!! Is there some abuse of the current law, or is it a problem in some way? Help needs to be easier to get, not harder. Being pro-life is not enough–support that life!

  6. As a disabled man on SSDI, who was evicted from the house he owns, by a out-of-state high-income wife who lied to get a protection order, I say its about time a modicum of sanity was injected into process.
    Now, anyone can go to the courthouse say “I am afraid for my life”, lie about the circumstance, and have their target permanently removed from the house.
    You can do this today. Those that do are not restricted by any normal sense of morality.
    It takes a exceptional judge to weigh the evidence in a hurried 15 minute hearing to quash a fraudulent Protective Order. Much easier to uphold.
    This is a huge problem. I am now very skeptical of any claims of abuses and of the “law and order” process.

  7. Salmon is a prime example a sycophantic “lawmaker” hoping to suck up crumbs left by House Speaker Upmeyer. Both need to go — with Upmeyer bathing in 2 million dollars of dark advertising money and Salmon once again bowing at the feet of scum.

  8. De los nuevos dúos, que debutan en esta repesca, los únicos participantes que ya ha debutado en Copa Camet son Dozer, Klan, Sony, y Shair. El año pasado, Dozer, fue parte de la edición internacional, espalda a espalda junto a Sony representaron el Team HH Sur.

  9. It’s quite easy to jump on the domestic violence bandwagon that seems to be gaining speed. The obstacle is that pesky remote possibility that the accused may be INNOCENT. Or that it is possible for someone, even a woman, to LIE.

    I am currently in the middle of such a charade. I am innocent. Yet no one involved in this unjust facade has even considered that possibility or tried to discern the truth. They jailed me, evicted me, stripped me of my rights-before I was even charged.

    The accuser has numerous programs and people to assist her; both private and state funded. This includes counsel, housing, etc. She even has a state funded ‘coach’ to help her answer questions under oath during deposition.

    A woman cop, a woman prosecuting attorney, in my current nightmare, are all to eager to exploit the current laws to scare me into pleading guilty to a crime I did not commit. Why? Bias? Certainly. And increasing their funding, of course, seem the likely answers. And everyone seems ok with that.

    Only now, after TEN MONTHS of this hell, will I finally be able to tell my side, THE TRUTH, to anyone who can help ME, a jury. At great financial expense to me-and the State of Iowa; a.k.a YOU.

    No one should commit violence against anyone. But the current setup steals basic human rights from the accused, no questions asked, all on the name of protecting their accuser; without real evidence of a crime being commited-BEFORE THEY ARE EVEN CHARGED. The entire ordeal is sickening and has made me lose faith in what is still sheepishly called “due process”.

    ‘Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchace a little temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.’ – Benjamin Franklin

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