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.

  • 8,858
    Reports that resulted in a finding or confirmation of abuse
  • 11,236
     Number of children found to be abuse
Number of Iowa Children Abused, 2008 – 2017
16,000 11,003 12,442 12,595 11,747 11,637 12,276 7,429 8,298 8,892 11,236
  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
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

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Prevent Child Abuse Iowa 501 SW 7th St., Suite G1 | Des Moines, IA 50309 | P: (515) 244.2200 | F: (515) 280.7835

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