Child Sexual Abuse Prevention - Prevent Child Abuse Iowa

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Prevent Child Abuse Iowa recognizes the important role legislation plays in the future of Iowa’s children. We support policies that prevent childhood sexual abuse. 

Goal: Require school-based sexual abuse prevention education. 

Safety from sexual abuse and exploitation begins by equipping educators with skills to recognize and respond to signs of sexual abuse and to support children and families in preventing abuse. 

Most educators do not receive training on preventing, recognizing, or responding to child sexual abuse in pre-service learning or professional development. School staff and volunteers can better protect children when they are trained to recognize warning signs of sexual abuse and respond to boundary-violating behaviors before abuse occurs. Schools must also be supported in providing resources, information, and referrals to parents and caregivers. 

While adults have the primary responsibility for protecting children, we also support age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education for pre-K-12 students. These evidence-based education programs teach children about healthy relationships and boundaries and empower them to ask for help. 

Goal: Reform school hiring and termination practices to prevent educator misconduct. 

Schools have the right to be certain that their next employee is a safe and trustworthy adult for their students in their care. We propose mandatory pre-employment screening for all school hires who will work with children.  

Schools must be required to screen all potential hires and volunteers who will have contact with children, including reference checks. Potential hires and past employers must disclose any past investigations (unless proven false), and schools must be protected from liability when requesting or sharing information about employee conduct. 

Schools must be prohibited from making agreements with employees that allow resignation, retirement, or assistance finding a new position in lieu of an investigation or sanction for suspected misconduct.  

Goal: Eliminate the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. 

While approximately 1 in 12 children will experience sexual abuse, a very small number of those are ever reported. According to the Department of Justice, only about 20% of reported cases go to trial, and a small portion of these result in conviction. Many adults disclose child sexual abuse long after the possibility of criminal justice has passed.  

Eliminating the civil statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse allows the victim to receive justice, and it prevents further abuse by shedding light on hidden abusers and dangerous situations. Through public awareness of the dynamics and risks that often proceed child sexual abuse, we can build a common language and shared understanding of how to protect children.  

We encourage you to ask your legislator to support sexual abuse prevention laws for Iowa’s children. 

Find Your Legislator

We encourage you to ask your legislator to support the creation of sexual abuse prevention policy for Iowa’s children.

Below are initial talking points to use when contacting your representatives. Please use these as a starting point, we encourage you to add your personal experience and/or professional opinions as part of your conversation.

  • 1.

    Sexual abuse prevention in Iowa schools builds protective factors for Iowa children, creating safer learning environments and better student achievement for all children.

  • 2.

    Safety from sexual abuse and exploitation begins by equipping adults working in a school system with knowledge and processes to recognize and respond to boundary violating behaviors, providing training on appropriate interventions, and developing internal school systems of reporting.

  • 3.

    Prevent Child Abuse Iowa requests the Iowa legislature to enact legislation requiring schools to provide training and supports for awareness and prevention of child sexual abuse and sexual assault in schools.