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Legal

Important Information

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, click here to access the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline resource guide or click here for a downloadable PDF of resources in Johnson County and scroll to Legal Assistance.

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 10 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. Click here to learn more about the legal definition of sexual abuse. 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. Click here to learn more. 

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

Reporting

CRIMINAL 

Option 1: Report with an investigation

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

Process:

Report with investigation2

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.

Process:

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.

Process:

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. 

Options 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.

CIVIL

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. 

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