How RVAP can help: Advocates can help you explore your legal options and clarify any of the information below. If you choose to move forward legally, we can accompany you throughout the entire legal process. 

Other legal services: We do not provide legal advice and the information on this website is not meant to substitute legal advice. For legal advice or other legal services, access our additional resources page here.

Statute of limitations: For felonies and misdemeanors, you have up to 3 years to report to law enforcement. For sexual abuse, you have up to 10 years after the sexual abuse took place to report to law enforcement. If the abuse happened before age 18, you have 15 years after you turn 18 to report. However, evidence (e.g., DNA, video surveillance, text messages) is most available and obtainable immediately after the abuse or an assault. Learn more about the legal definition of sexual abuse here. We recognize this information may be overwhelming. RVAP advocates can help. 

Your rights: As a victim of sexual assault in Iowa, you have legal rights. Learn more about your legal rights

Crime expenses: If you have had to pay expenses related to physical or mental injuries from sexual violence, learn more about the Crime Victim Compensation Program here. The program pays for certain expenses related to the crime.


  1. Report to law enforcement in city where incident(s) occurred

    At police station, hospital, RVAP, 911, or prearranged with detective by an RVAP advocate.

  2. Case is assigned to a detective

    Detective will contact you in a few business days up to a buisness week for to arrange a follow up interview.

  3. Detective interviews you & confirms you want an investigation

    RVAP advocate can accompany & support you through interview.

  4. Detective conducts investigation
    (can take weeks-months depending on circumstances)

    Potentially interview others & perpetrator.

  5. Detective summarizes investigation & submits to county attorney

    County attorney determines whether or not charges are pressed. If charges are pressed, an arrest may be made & court process begins.


Option 1: Report with an investigation

The victim reports to law enforcement directly and requests that an investigation occur in pursuit of pressing charges.

Option 2: Report without an investigation (informational report)

*The victim reports to law enforcement directly and request that an investigation not occur and the information given be kept as intelligence used to help inform future investigations. Report is made to law enforcement in the city where the incident occurred.


Due to the many variables of an informational report, please contact RVAP at 319-335-6001 on reporting without an investigation. 

*Fine Print:

Policies and procedures vary by law enforcement jurisdiction. We cannot guarantee that law enforcement will not take action despite your wishes. 

Option 3: 3rd party informational report

A 3rd party report is an informational report given to law enforcement by a 3rd party (e.g., RVAP). The report can be made anonymously, an investigation should not occur and charges are not pursued.* The information given may be used to help inform future and other investigations.


You can meet with an RVAP advocate or submit a statement about the incident to RVAP. After getting your written consent, we will submit your written or our summarized statement to law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.  

*Fine Print:

If you live in a smaller community, identity may be inferred from details given. Policies and procedures vary by law enforcement jurisdiction. We cannot guarantee that law enforcement will not take action despite your wishes. 

Option 4: No report

It's your choice whether or not you report. A lot of people don't report and that's okay. We respect that. If you ever decide to or want to talk over options and processes, or none of the above, give RVAP a call at 319-335-6000.


Potential Outcomes: compensation for emotional and/or physical harm or property damages

Things to Consider:

  • You will need to obtain your own lawyer and pay all corresponding fees
  • Civil actions require a lower standard of proof than criminal prosecutions
  • In most cases, a civil lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the incident date. However, it can be extended in certain circumstances. For more information, please call Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 515-244-7424 and ask to speak with an attorney for more information.