# Sexual Assault

Why we oppose "Marsy's Law" legislation in Iowa

Beth Barnhill from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Laurie Schipper from the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence contributed the following commentary. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) oppose the bill known as “Marsy’s Law,” in its current form. This legislation proposes to amend Iowa’s state constitution to establish specific rights for victims of crime. However, Iowa law already provides statutory victims’ rights protections under Chapter 915.

While we remain unwavering in our support for crime victims, we believe a constitutional amendment is the wrong mechanism for effectively supporting victims. Legislation like Marsy’s Law undermines the systems and services that can better meet the comprehensive needs of victims of crime. What’s more, Marsy’s Law provides no meaningful remedy or adequate funding for services. It provides a false hope to victims, and prioritizes the rights of victims who pursue remedy in a courtroom over the vast majority of victims who choose not to.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

You can find statistics about sexual assault and resources for survivors and those who wish to become counselors at the website of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault:

IowaCASA's mission is to unite people and organizations to promote a society free from sexual violence and to meet the diverse needs of survivors.

[...] Today, IowaCASA has 27 member sexual assault crisis centers serving survivors of sexual assault throughout Iowa. Eleven staff work on several initiatives including: technical assistance and training to member centers; civil legal assistance for survivors of sexual assault, including immigration assistance; improving responses to sexual assault within communities of color; a training initiative for assisting survivors with developmental disabilities; a national project providing peer-based assistance to other sexual assault coalitions; statewide sexual assault prevention; training for allied professionals; and public policy efforts at the state and national level.

If you or someone you care about is in danger because of an abusive situation, the site provides this advice:

Email is not a safe or confidential way to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. To discuss a confidential issue please call our office at 515-244-7424 or the statewide Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821 to be connected to a sexual assault counselor in your area.

I've put contact information for all member centers of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault after the jump.

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