The Iowa Senate has approved legislation that would allow pets to be included on a “no-contact order” in alleged cases of domestic violence. Senator Janet Pedersen, a Democrat from Des Moines. says 68 percent of battered women report their pets were beaten, too.
“This bill gives Iowa victims of domestic abuse the chance to leave their perpetrator without the fear that the family pet will be subjected to violence as a means to psychologically control victims, including their children, to stay in a violent home,” Petersen says.
The bill passed on a 49-0 vote Monday. Senators also voted to dramatically extend the amount of time victims of child sexual abuse have to file a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator, or report the abuse to authorities. Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, is also a deputy sheriff.
“As legislators we often hear: ‘What about the victims?'” Sodders says. “…This bill is evidence we really do care about the child victims of sex abuse.”
Under current law, once a victim of sex abuse turns 18, they have a decade to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator. The bill extends that to 25 years after the child turns 18. The time for criminal charges to be filed when an adult comes forward to say they were sexually abused as a child is also extended ’til when that adult turns 43. Under current law, they have to step forward and report the abuse before they turn 20.
“There’s an epidemic here of child sex abuse,” Sodders says. “We read news accounts almost daily about these horrific crimes. Expanding the statute of limitations relating to child sex abuse identifies previously unknown predators to the public so that children will not be abused in the future.”
The bill passed on a 49-0 vote. The Iowa Senate debated and passed over two dozen bills Monday afternoon, often with little or no debate. The Iowa House held committee meetings Monday afternoon, but took no votes.