From Senator Rich Taylor

Written by Theresa Rose on May 27, 2015


Violence in dating relationships is just as dangerous as violence in married or cohabitating couples relationships, according to the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Here in Iowa, though, a person cannot be charged with domestic abuse for assaulting a partner, boyfriend or girlfriend if they have never lived together and if they have not had children together.

The Senate voted to change that when we approved Senate File 510. This legislation will ensure that an abuser in an intimate dating relationship can be charged with criminal domestic abuse. A person charged with and convicted of domestic abuse must attend a batterer’s education program, and they’ll face enhanced penalties for subsequent instances of abuse. Under this bill, a victim is entitled to a criminal no-contact order against the offender and is protected through the automatic arrest policy when it’s likely that abuse has been committed.

This change in the law is a priority for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and with good reason. Dating relationships can be just as deadly as married relationships, accounting for nearly half of the homicides between couples—married and non-married. In fact, Iowa averages one domestic abuse murder per month.

In Iowa, dating relationships account for the majority (51.7 percent) of abusive relationships, with more than one-third of offenders between the ages of 16 and 25. Nationally, one in three teens has experienced dating abuse and one in three college women say they have been in an abusive relationship.

Unhealthy relationships can start young. With early intervention and batterer’s education, Iowa is trying to change behaviors and save lives.

Additional information

This is a legislative update from Senator Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to

To contact Senator Taylor during session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at

Senator Taylor is chair of the Local Government Committee. He also serves on the Economic Growth, Human Resources, Judiciary, and Justice Systems Budget committees.