Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Iowa

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.68

'Child abuse' or 'abuse' means any nonaccidental physical injury, or injury that is inconsistent with the history given of it, suffered by a child as the result of acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child.

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.68

The terms 'child abuse' or 'abuse' include the following:

  • The failure on the part of a person responsible for the care of a child to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or mental health treatment, supervision, or other care necessary for the child's health and welfare when financially able to do so or when offered financial or other reasonable means to do so
  • Failure to provide for the adequate supervision of a child that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise under similar facts and circumstances and the failure resulted in direct harm or created a risk of harm to the child
  • The presence of an illegal drug in a child's body as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of the person responsible for the care of the child
  • That the person responsible for the care of a child, in the presence of a child unlawfully uses, possesses, manufactures, cultivates, or distributes a dangerous substance; knowingly allows such use, possession, manufacture, cultivation, or distribution by another person in the presence of a child; possesses a product with the intent to use the product as a precursor or an intermediary to a dangerous substance in the presence of a child; or unlawfully uses, possesses, manufactures, cultivates, or distributes a dangerous substance in a child's home, on the premises, or in a motor vehicle located on the premises
  • Knowingly allowing a person to have custody of, control of, or unsupervised access to a child after knowing the person is required to register or is on the sex offender registry

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.68

The terms 'child abuse' or 'abuse' include the following:

  • Committing a sexual offense with or to a child
  • Allowing, permitting, or encouraging the child to engage in prostitution
  • Committing acts of bestiality in the presence of a minor by a person who resides in a home with a child, as a result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child
  • Knowingly allowing a person to have custody of, control of, or unsupervised access to a child after knowing the person is required to register or is on the sex offender registry
  • Knowingly allowing the child access to obscene material, as defined in § 728.1, or knowingly disseminating or exhibiting such material to the child
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a child for the purpose of commercial sexual activity, as defined in § 710A.1

'Sex trafficking' means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of commercial sexual activity. 'Sex trafficking victim' means a victim of sex trafficking.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.68

The terms 'child abuse' or 'abuse' include any mental injury to a child's intellectual or psychological capacity as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function within the child's normal range of performance and behavior as the result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child, if the impairment is diagnosed and confirmed by a licensed physician or qualified mental health professional.

Abandonment

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.69

A report is required when a mandatory reporter reasonably believes that a child has suffered abuse.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.68

'Person responsible for the care of a child' includes the following:

  • A parent, guardian, or foster parent
  • A relative or any other person with whom the child resides who assumes care or supervision of the child, without reference to the length of time or continuity of such residence
  • An employee or agent of a public or private facility providing care for a child, including an institution, hospital, health-care facility, group home, mental health center, residential treatment center, shelter care facility, detention center, or child care facility
  • Any person providing care for a child but with whom the child does not reside, without reference to the duration of care

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.68

A parent or guardian legitimately practicing religious beliefs who does not provide specified medical treatment for a child, for that reason alone, shall not be considered to be abusing the child. This provision shall not preclude a court from ordering that medical service be provided to the child when the child's health requires it.

'Child abuse' or 'abuse' shall not be construed to hold a victim responsible for failing to prevent a crime against the victim.