Child abuse reports in Iowa on the rise amid pandemic

Reports of child abuse are on the rise in Iowa.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:22 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Reports of child abuse are on the rise in Iowa, and an Iowa nonprofit said the pandemic likely played a major role.

Greg Bellville, the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, said neglect often went unreported as the pandemic kept people apart.

There was also more isolation and more parents experiencing sickness, joblessness and higher levels of stress.

The Iowa Department of Human Services said last year there was an increase of more than 5,000 reports.

Of all cases of child abuse in Iowa last year, the department said more than half were due to neglect.

Bellville said there’s a concern we haven’t seen the full result of the pandemic on child abuse, and the community needs to take action.

“We know that people who are still struggling with unemployment or increased inflation and all of those things that continue to put stressors on parents,” Bellville said. “At the individual level, the person to person level, the things that people can do with be a safe, stable, nurturing relationship for a child. That’s one of the most important things we can do to prevent and mitigate the effects of child abuse trauma.”

He also said it’s important to reach out to people, ask them how they’re doing and ask if they need help.

If you suspect abuse, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-362-2178. If you believe the child is in immediate danger, call 911.

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