Protection Order

CSADV advocates are able to assist domestic violence victims in obtaining Pro Se Protection Orders. Chapter 236 of Iowa Code enables domestic violence victims to file for a protection order without representation of a lawyer. Advocates are available to assist the victim with filling out forms and assisting victims with the process of filing the order. Forms are available at CSADV or at the Clerk of Court.

In order to qualify for a Pro Se Protection Order under Iowa law, you must meet certain criteria:


  • Presently married, even if you are not living together
  • Divorced or separated, whether or not living together
  • Living together in an intimate relationship with the abuser at the time of the abuse
  • Living together and related by blood or affinity
  • You and the abuser lived together at some time in the past year, and were in an intimate relationship or are related by blood or affinity
  • You and the abuser are parents of the same minor child
  • You and the abuser are in or have been in an intimate relationship within the past year, but have not lived together.

An intimate relationship maybe determined by:   

  • duration of relationship
  • frequency of interaction
  • whether relationship has been terminated
  • nature of relationship, characterized by either party’s expectation of sexual or romantic involvement

Abuse and present threat of harm:

You must show that an assault, as defined in the Iowa Code, has occurred. Assault means ONE of the following must have happened:

  • Someone physically abused you; Or
  • Someone pointed a gun at you or displayed a dangerous weapon toward you in a threatening manner; Or
  • Someone threatened you with physical contact which would cause pain or injury; And The threat put you in fear; And
  • The threat could be carried out immediately


You or the abuser must live in Iowa. You must file for your petition in the courthouse located in the county where either you or the abuser is living.

If you meet these requirements, you qualify to obtain a Pro Se Protection Order. When the petition is filed, a temporary order will be granted by the judge, which will go into effect once the defendant is served with the papers. When the temporary order is signed, a hearing will be set to determine if a permanent order should be put into effect. A permanent order usually lasts one year. Both the plaintiff and the defendant have the option of obtaining attorneys.

What can a Pro Se Protection Order do for me?

The judge can order the defendant to:

  • Stop domestic abuse
  • Stay away from your home/the family home
  • Stay away from your work or school
  • Not contact you personally or through another person, whether by telephone, writing, or any other way
  • Give you possession of the family home or provide other housing
  • Give you custody of the children, with appropriate visitation for the defendant
  • Give you financial support

Victims do not have to go through this process alone. Advocates are available to assist them and provide support. For more information on Pro Se Protection Orders, please call CSADV.

Has my protection order been served?
In Iowa to find out if a protection order has been served, contact Iowa Protective order Notification For Domestic Abuse Program (IPONDA) 1-888-742-8463 or visit IPONDA’s website.

IPONDA is an automated service that lets you, the petitioner, track the status of a protective order over the phone or internet. You can also restister to be notified by pohne and e-mail about changes in the status of a protective order.

Nebraska and South Dakota
If you or your abuser reside in Nebraska or South Dakota, these states have protection orders available as well. Laws differ in every state, so please call CSADV for further information on how to obtain a protection order from Nebraska or South Dakota. CSADV has advocates that are knowledgeable about the process of obtaining a protection order in both Nebraska and South Dakota.