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The sexual violence prevention program of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services uses public health strategies to prevent sexual violence in Iowa.

Sexual violence refers to sexual behavior that occurs between people where consent is not obtained or freely given. Not all sexual violence includes physical contact between the individuals; it also may occur in the form of sexual harassment, threats, taking nude photos or sending them via email or text messages. Unwanted sexual touch may range from groping or fondling to rape.

The program collaborates with community prevention partners to:

  • gather data on the incidence of sexual violence in Iowa,

  • develop strategies for preventing first-time victimization and perpetration of sexual violence,

  • administer federal and state sexual violence prevention funds, and

  • support the work of state and local agencies and organizations in their efforts to end sexual violence.

The program is funded by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cost of Sexual Violence in Iowa

Sexual violence is a serious and costly public health problem in Iowa. In addition to its emotional toll, it causes substantial financial damage to the victims, their families, and society as whole. Injuries from sexual violence result in large expenditures by our systems of health care, law enforcement, criminal justice, and welfare. More important, acts of sexual violence lead to even greater costs that arise from lost productivity and the inability of victims and families to continue with activities of daily life.

To more clearly describe the societal burden of this problem, the Iowa Department of  Health and Human Services (Iowa HHS) and the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) allocated funds to conduct a cost analysis. The report enumerates the incidents of sexual violence in Iowa, the direct and indirect costs associated with it, and the costs to society of responding to it. Data used is from 2009 and 2010. 

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