Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions

What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence occurs when a person uses physical or psychological abuse, threats, intimidation, or harassment to control another person in a family, dating, household.

What can I do if l am abused?
You may file charges if the abuser's acts constitute a crime. You also may request an order of protection and seek help from one of various agencies that offer free or low-cost services to victims of domestic violence.

What is an order of protection?
It is an order prohibiting the abuser from threatening or harassing you. It also may grant you temporary possession of your children and your home.

Do I qualify for an order of protection?
You qualify if the abuser is your spouse, ex-spouse, or anyone else to whom you are related by marriage or prior marriage. You also qualify if the abuser is someone with whom you have had a child, with whom you live or have lived.

How do I file a criminal charge?
Contact the police immediately and ask them to make out a report. Depending on the circumstances, the police may arrest the abuser. If no arrest is made, ask the police to explain how you can begin the criminal process or contact the County Attorney’s Office at the courthouse to arrange an appointment.

What happens when I go to the courthouse?
You will be interviewed by a member of the County Attorney’s staff and if it appears that a crime has occurred, a prosecutor will file charges and bring your complaint before a Judge, usually the same day. If you qualify for an emergency order of protection, it will be issued then. The Judge also may order the abuser’s arrest or issue a summons for the abuser to appear in court. It is very important that you come to court on the date that the abuser is scheduled to appear.

How long will the order of protection be in effect?
The order of protection that you obtain at your initial court appearance usually will last up to one (1) year or until otherwise modified by the Judge.

What can I do if the order is violated?
Call the police immediately. The abuser may be arrested and charged with the additional offense of violating the order of protection. (It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order in a safe place so you can show it to the police in case of a violation.)

If convicted, what penalties will the abuser face?
Criminal penalties vary depending on the specific charges and circumstances. Sentences may include probation, BEP, court supervision, community service, counseling, or a jail or prison.

How do I drop a No Contact Order issued in a criminal case?
Contact Crisis Services on West 9th Street, Waterloo, Iowa (319-233-8484). Attend one (1) session with the counselor, bring a letter signed by the counselor stating you have done this and are aware of services, then meet with the prosecutor and a Judge at Order Hour.

When can I meet with a Judge about the No Contact Order?
Every day at 4:00 PM on the first (1st ) floor of the courthouse.

Where can I get more information?
County Attorney’s Office
316 East 5th Street, B-1 Courthouse Building, Waterloo, Iowa 50703
Phone: 319-833-3001
Fax: 319-833-3020

Domestic Abuse Response Team, 715 Mulberry Street,
Waterloo, Iowa 50703
Phone: 319-291-4331

Batterer’s Education Program, P.O. Box 1725 Dubuque, Iowa 52004
Phone: 1-800-485-8151 OR: 319-485-8151

During an Emergency, always contact your local police