Help for Crime Victims

Child Abuse
Physical Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Dating Violence

UAY Victim and Survivor Services

If you, a friend or a family member has been harmed by a parent, a stranger, an adult or someone you believed was a friend, there are non-judgmental people available at United Action for Youth, 24 hours a day to help you sort out that experience, answer your questions or just listen.

Call 338-7518.

Child abuse is never okay
and the person being harmed
is never to blame.

Check status of your offender

Iowa VINE linkThis service is provided to assist victims of crime who have a right to know about their offender’s custody status. Website & Phone Numbers

Child Abuse

Child abuse law applies to acts or failure by a caretaker against a child.

A child is defined in Iowa Code section 232.68 as any person under the age of 18 years.

Who is a caretaker?
A parent, guardian, foster parent, a relative, or someone living in the home who takes care of a child, a childcare person, a babysitter, or anyone working in a facility like a hospital or group home, sometimes a boyfriend or girlfriend of a parent, and sometimes a teacher. To figure out if someone is a caretaker call the Department of Human Services at 356-6169.

What if I am abused but not sure they are a “CARETAKER”?
Hurting a child is almost always against the law. Don’t let the words stop you from getting help. Call the police or the Department of Human Services. Say, “I would like to speak to someone about abuse.” If you are asked more questions about that, you can answer them or just say, “I’m not sure, that’s why I would like to talk with someone who knows about it.” You can start by saying “what if…”Most people will let you ask questions without giving your name.

How to Make a Child Abuse Report:
In Johnson County, Iowa call the Department of Human Services at 319-356-6169 (24 hour line) and say:
“I would like to make a child abuse report.” You will be connected to the person who will take the information.

Elsewhere in Iowa, call: 1800-362-2178 (24 hour line)
Outside of Iowa, call the NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE 1800-252-2873 (24 hour line)

Physical Abuse

This is any physical injury that’s not accidental and that happens because of something a CARETAKER did or failed to do. The injury might be visible, like a burn or bruise. Sometimes the injury can’t be seen, like a broken bone. If someone other than a CARETAKER hurts you in this way, it might be assault and can be reported to the police.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is also called “mental injury” or “psychological abuse.” It is hard to define because there also has to be INJURY, that a doctor or therapist can find. Examples of mental injury may include:

  • Ignoring the child and failing to provide necessary stimulation, responsiveness and validation of the child’s worth in normal family routine.
  • Rejecting the child’s value, needs, and request for adult validation and nurturance.
  • Isolating the child from the family and community; denying the child normal human contact.
  • Terrorizing the child with continual verbal assaults, creating a climate of fear, hostility, and anxiety, thus preventing the child from gaining feelings of safety and security.
  • Corrupting the child by encouraging and reinforcing destructive, antisocial behavior until the child is so impaired in socio-emotional development that interaction in normal social environments is not possible.
  • Verbally assaulting the child with constant, excessive name-calling, harsh threats, and sarcastic put downs that continually “beat down” the child’s self-esteem with humiliation.
  • Over pressuring the child with subtle but consistent pressure to grow up fast and to achieve too early in the areas of academics, physical or motor skills, or social interaction, which leaves the child feeling that he or she is never quite good enough.

If things like this are happening to you, talk it over with an adult you can trust, your doctor, the school nurse or a counselor. UAY counselors are available at 338-7518, 24 hours a day.


Neglect is also called Denial of Critical Care. Neglect means that the person responsible for your care is not doing something that they should do to take care of you, even thought they have the money to do so. The idea about injury is important with neglect. Will injury, failure to grow, or death occur if the basic need is not met?

Parent and other caretaker should provide:

  • Proper food and nutrition
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Medical Care
  • Mental health care
  • Emotional Needs
  • Supervision

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is any sex act done by your parent, relative, teacher, counselor or other caretaker. A sex act can include: touching “private parts,” or even the clothing over those areas of the body, making you touch someone’s “private parts”, sexual intercourse, rape , or exposing “private parts.”

If you, or someone you know is being harmed by someone they live with, or someone who cares for them, get help. Child abuse is never okay and the person being harmed is never to blame.

Crimes of Sexual Assault and Date Rape

Getting help after rape is always confidential, unless you are under 12 years old or it was done by a “caretaker”

If you are raped:

  • You can go to the hospital and be treated for STI’s (sexually transmitted infections), prevent pregnancy, and get important information on your options.
  • You will never be pressured to make a police report or tell your parents, as long as you are over 14 years old.
  • This is not a mandatory report if it was not perpetrated by a caretaker (unless the victim in under 12 years old).
  • If going to the hospital:
    1. A police report is not required
    2. If you are over 14 years old, you decide if your parents are involved.
  • If you decide you would like to tell your parents or the police, UAY counselors will help you tell them. It is also possible to talk with the police but not make a formal report. You can ask questions, get information on what happens if you make a formal report.

To get help
Call United Action for Youth,Iowa City 338-7518 24 HRS A DAY.
Call the Rape Victom Advocacy Program, Iowa City 335-6000 24 HRS A DAY.
Call the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline: 1-800-284-7821 24 HRS A DAY.
Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
On the Web, visit:
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network:
The Rape Victom Advocacy Program:

Check status of your offender: IowaVINEIowa VINE link

The IowaVINE system is a service that victims of crime can use by phone or internet to search for information on the custody status of their offender, and to register to receive phone and email notification when the offender’s custody status changes.

The toll-free number for IowaVINE is 888-7-IAVINE or 888-742-8463. This service is provided to assist victims of crime who have a right to know about their offender’s custody status.

Dating Violence

Is your relationship healthy?

Does your partner:

  • Encourage you to pursue your talents?
  • Support you in your friendships and family connections?
  • Share in financial responsibilities?
  • Willingly discuss difficult subjects and listen to your perspective?

(The items on the list above are signs of a healthy relationship.)

Does your partner:

  • Call you names or put you down?
  • Try to keep you away from family or friends?
  • Hit, slap or push you?
  • Make threats of any kind?
  • Monitor your email or text messages or text you excessively?
  • Force or “guilt” you into doing things?

(The items on the list above are signs of an abusive relationship.)

For help contact a counselor 24 hours at UAY by calling 338-7518.
For more information go to, or contact the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474.

Iowa Code section 232.68 (Definition of Child Abuse)

Child abuse is defined in Iowa Code section 232.68:

The law provides for the Department of Human Services to make an assessment if there is a claim that a child (under 18 yrs.) has been harmed by a person responsible for their care (caretaker). The law REQUIRES people in a certain kids of jobs to make a report if they suspect that child abuse has occurred. UAY staff are required by law to make a report, if we know about an incident of abuse (see UAY CONFIDENTIAL POLICY). So are doctors, teachers, psychologists, nurses, childcare workers, police, dentists, counselors and some other professions. Anyone else CAN make a report.

UAY Definitions of Child Abuse – WARNING : This is our translation of the terminology NOT THE LEGAL DEFINITIONS UNDER IOWA LAW! Check the link above to read the actual Iowa Law or call the Department of Human Services or police in your county.

United Action for Youth
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 892
Iowa City, Iowa 52244
Fax: 319-337-7999

Main Office and 24 Hour Crisis Line
1700 S First Ave Suite 14

Youth Center
355 Iowa Avenue