Child Abuse Facts

Child Abuse Definitions

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 propose of commercial sexual activity”)

According to Iowa law, the harm of a child is considered “child abuse” when it’s caused by the actions or neglect of someone who is responsible for the child’s well-being. The following individuals can be charged with child abuse:

  • Parent or guardian
  • Foster parent
  • Health care or residential treatment employee
  • Child care employee
  • A relative or anyone living with a child, who is responsible for his or her supervision

Societal Costs of Child Abuse

Children who are raised in safe, nurturing environments are more likely to grow into responsible, contributing members of society. For every $50 spent to treat child abuse, only $1 is spent to prevent it from occurring. Studies show investing in parental support and education is less expensive and more effective than trying to treat the effects of child abuse. Those who are subject to child abuse face emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioral development challenges at higher rates than children who aren’t abused. Specifically, children who are abused are more likely to:

 

  • Perform poorly in school
  • Develop unhealthy relationships
  • Attempt suicide
  • Suffer from:
  • Attention deficits
  • Depression
  • Violent aggression
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug usage
  • Cigarette addiction


 

Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs)

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) conducted by Dr. Robert Anda and Dr. Vincent Felitti revealed these major societal costs that result from childhood trauma. Iowa is one of 19 states taking action based on the ACEs study. ACEs data is being collected this year and a steering committee is looking at how to use the data to best address childhood adversity in the state

 

The monetary costs associated with child abuse are staggering as well. An economic impact analysis study released by Prevent Child Abuse America in April 2012 estimates the cost of child abuse and neglect in the U.S. at $80 billion, or nearly $64,000 per child, this year. These estimates include direct costs (hospitalizations, mental health treatment, child welfare system, and law enforcement) as well as indirect costs (special education, early intervention, adult homelessness, mental health and health care, juvenile and adult criminal justice, and lost work productivity).

 

What is clear from these studies is that child abuse affects everyone. We can significantly reduce the costs associated with treating child abuse by investing in programs that prevent child abuse from happening, but it will take everyone working together to support Iowa’s families.

 

Iowa Department of Human Services Definitions

The child protection process starts with a report being received by a centralized intake system of the Iowa Department of Human Services.  For the unit to accept a report as a possible case of child abuse, the allegations must involve:

  • A victim who is less than 18 at the time of the alleged harm
  • A possible perpetrator who is a “caretaker”
  • An allegation that one or more of certain specified harms had occurred

These are the three core requirements for a case to be accepted. The only exception regarding the caretaker requirement involves cases of alleged sexual abuse, where any household member – not just a caretaker – can be a perpetrator.

 

The Iowa Department of Human Services began its Differential Response (DR) System in January 2014. The new system consists of two pathways, Family Assessment (FA) and Child Abuse Assessment (CA), to respond to allegations of neglect and abuse. The new FA, pathway responds to less serious allegations of child neglect. Differential Response did not impact the criteria for accepting a report for assessment. Code changes did impact worker response times, the labeling of perpetrators and victims, and report conclusion categories for less serious neglect cases following the acceptance of a report for assessment. In addition, Code changes established a firm path for cases to be re-assigned from the FA pathway to CA pathway. These decisions were based on the premise that safety of a child is first and foremost in a FA and CA.

 

Founded (Confirmed and Placed) means that more than half of the available evidence shows that abuse occurred, and the abuse DOES meet the criteria for placement on the Central Abuse Registry.  This assessment summary will be kept on the Registry for ten years (or ten years after the most recent confirmed abuse when the same victim or person responsible is placed on the Registry).  This summary will be sealed for eight years and then destroyed.  A summary involving founded sexual abuse is sealed for thirty years and then destroyed.

 

Confirmed means that more than half of the available evidence shows that abuse occurred, but the abuse DOES NOT meet the criteria for placement on the Central Abuse Registry.  The child abuse assessment summary is retained five years from date of intake or five years from the date of closure of the service record, whichever occurs later.

 

Not Confirmed means that it was not possible to determine, by more than half of the available evidence, that abuse occurred.  The child abuse assessment summary is retained five years from date of intake or five years from the date of closure of the service record, whichever occurs later.

 

Child Abuse in Iowa

Annually, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) provides child abuse data. The data reveals trends in child abuse, which assists Prevent Child Abuse Iowa in determining the state’s needs and priorities pertaining to child abuse prevention efforts.

 

In Iowa, there were 33,418 child abuse reports of which 7,136 family assessments were completed and 26,282 child abuse assessments completed.  There were 11,236 abused children in 2017. This represents a 26% increase from the number of children abused in 2016.  Of the 11,236 children that were abused,  47.4% were under the age of 5.

 

Child Abuse in Warren County

The Iowa Department of Human Services provides data by county. There were 145 children abused in 2017 of which 42.8% were under the age of 5. Below is additional child abuse data by category for Warren County.

 

Abused Children in Warren County by Year

Warren County ranks 75th

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

137

140

161

153

151

98

79

128

145

 

Presence of Illegal Drugs Cases in Warren County by Year

Warren County ranks 79th

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2

6

8

3

11

4

6

7

20

 

Physical Injury Cases in Warren County by Year

Warren County ranks 71st

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

18

16

29

27

21

15

9

18

27

 

Sexual Abuse Cases in Warren County by Year

Warren County ranks 89th

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

18

8

18

10

9

6

7

5

8

 

Sex Offender Cases in Warren County by Year

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

0

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

3

 

Demographics and Indicators

 

Total Population

0-17 Population

Child Poverty

Rate

% of single parent families

% individuals receiving food assistance

% of students eligible for free or reduced school lunch

Unemployment rate

Warren County

46,691

12,223

8.0%

31.7%

6.6%

26.2%

3.2%

Iowa

3,123,899

715,117

14.6%

31.4%

12.1%

41.8%

3.7%

US

326,771,203

73,642,285

19.5%

34.8%

13.7%

51.8%

4.9%

Iowa Kids Count 2016

 

Additional Data

Iowa Department of Human Services at https://dhs.iowa.gov/reports/child-abuse-statistics has more information related to child abuse statistics.

 


Leave a Reply

Archives