13.20 Duty to Report Child Abuse


The University of Northern Iowa provides meaningful educational opportunities for people of all ages.  Children are participants in some of these educational opportunities.  The University understands the importance of a safe environment for children.  One aspect of a safe environment is the proper reporting of potential issues.  The purpose of this policy is to outline the responsibility of University employees for reporting suspected child abuse. 


Child means a person under the age of eighteen years. 

 Mandatory reporter means a person as described in Iowa Code section 232.69(1).  In general, this includes a person who in the scope of her or his professional or employment responsibilities examines, attends, counsels, or treats a child, and who is a health practitioner; social worker; certified psychologist; licensed school employee, certified para-educator, or holder of a coaching authorization under Iowa Code section 272.31; employee or operator of a licensed child care center; employee or operator of a mental health center; peace officer; counselor or mental health professional; or employee or operator of a provider of services to children funded under a federally approved medical assistance home and community-based services waiver.   

 Physical abuse means any non-accidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of it, suffered by a child as a result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child.  Common indicators could include unusual or unexplained burns, bruises, or fractures.

 Sexual abuse means the commission of a sexual offense with or to a child as a result of the acts or omissions of the person responsible for the care of the child.  The commission of a sexual offense includes any sexual offense with or to a person under the age of 18 years.  Sexual abuse includes but is not limited to lascivious acts with a child, indecent exposure, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, indecent contact with a child, incest, and sexual exploitation. 

Policy Statement

Any employee who in the course of employment suspects physical or sexual abuse of a child, is required to report the suspected abuse to University Police.  Any student or visitor who suspects physical or sexual abuse of a child on campus or relating to a University program or activity should provide a report to University Police.  The report should be made as soon as possible –

  • by telephone (319-273-2712 or 319-273-4000), or
  • in person (Gilchrist Hall, room 30).  

If the suspected physical or sexual abuse is not on the University of Northern Iowa campus, local police authorities should also be notified.  There should be no retaliation against a person who makes a good faith report of physical or sexual abuse of a child under this policy.       

The report to University Police should include all of the relevant facts known to the person who is making the report, including—

(1)  the child’s name, contact information, and/or description;

(2)  the name and/or description of the person suspected of the abuse;

(3)  the person/reporter’s name and contact information;

(4)  the time, date, and location of the suspected abuse; and

(5)  a description of the suspected abuse, with all relevant information, and any supporting evidence.      

University Police will provide report information to the University President as soon as possible, and the University President will work with appropriate University administrative offices and employees immediately to provide safety to the child and deal with the situation, including the person suspected of the abuse. 

This policy is intended to implement Code of Iowa section 262.9(37)

[Note:  A mandatory reporter of “child abuse” under Iowa law would also be obligated to report physical or sexual abuse of a child to the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) as provided under the Code of Iowa sections 232.67 – .70.  The definition of “child abuse” in section 232.68 includes more than physical or sexual abuse.  Any employee, student, or visitor who is not a mandatory reporter is encouraged to report any type of “child abuse” to DHS as provided by Iowa law.]       


University Counsel, approved November 6, 2012 
President’s Cabinet, approved January 28, 2013