The first thing that has to be done is to create awareness that child abuse IS an issue in our communities and that, with people working together, it IS preventable! First, we have to educate ourselves, then we will be more prepared to bring up the subject and share the information!
What is Child Abuse?
In Iowa, the Legislature defines “child abuse” as:
- 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
According to Iowa law, to be “child abuse”, the above acts must be committed by someone who is responsible for the child’s well-being:
- Parent or guardian
- Foster parent
- Health care or residential treatment employee
- Childcare employee
- A relative or anyone living with a child, who is responsible for his or her supervision
- This information was taken from the Prevent Child Abuse website. Click here for this and more preventative information.
Child Abuse Statistics
- Each year, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa compiles reports from the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS):
- 12,276 children in Iowa were abused in 2013. This was a five percent increase from the number of children abused in 2012.
- Child abuse disproportionately impacts young children. In 2013, almost half of child abuse victims were under six years old.
- Almost 4 out of 5 child abuse cases in 2013 were due to denial of critical care, which indicates a parent or caretaker failed to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, or other care necessary for a child’s well-being.
Much more information can be found at:
Once you’re informed, spread the word and let others know about child abuse issues and that PREVENTION IS POSSIBLE! Promote prevention programming to local leadership, help spread the word about child abuse prevention and family support programs and efforts in your community, and/or contact your legislators to urge them to support work that protects children from abuse and neglect, including family support.