Child Abuse in Iowa

Child abuse is defined through state laws, so there is no federal standard throughout the country. In Iowa, the Legislature defines "child abuse" to include the following harm:

  • Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing or other care necessary for a child's health and well-being
  • Intended physical injury
  • Sexual abuse of a child
  • Presence of an illegal drug in a child’s body as a result of actions or neglect
  • Allowing a known sex offender, who is not the child’s biological parent or the caretaker’s spouse, custody or access to a child
  • Manufacturing a dangerous substance in a child’s presence
  • Mental injury to a child
  • Providing access to or showing obscene material to a child
  • Sex trafficking (“the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of commercial sexual activity”)

More information about Iowa state laws regarding child abuse can be found on the Department of Human Services website.

Iowa Child Abuse Data

The following data is collected annually by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

  • 6,042
    Cases of confirmed or founded child abuse
  • 8,298
    Total children found to be abused
Number of Iowa Children Abused, 2006 – 2015
16,000 13,455 12,788 11,003 12,442 12,595 11,747 11,637 12,276 7,429 8,298
  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Note: The Iowa Department of Human Services altered its classification of child abuse and neglect cases in 2013, causing the decline in cases labeled child abuse. More information on Differential Response policies is available on the DHS website.

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How We Prevent Child Abuse in Iowa

What we do and how you can make a difference.

Prevent Child Abuse Iowa 2704 Fleur Drive | Des Moines, IA 50321 | P: (515) 244.2200 | F: (515) 280.7835 | Toll Free: (800) 237.1815

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