You are here

Personal Safety

Sexual assault services

If you are in need of local sexual assault crisis services for yourself or someone you know, please visit the webpage of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA).

24-hour statewide sexual assault hotline: 1-800-284-7821.

Domestic abuse

If you are in need of local domestic abuse victim services for yourself or someone you know, please visit the webpage of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV).

24-hour statewide domestic abuse hotline: 1-800-770-1650 or text "iowahelp" to 20121.

Human trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) works to improve the national response to protect victims of human trafficking in the United States. Contact the NHTRC to report a tip; to connect with anti-trafficking resources in your area; or to request training and technical assistance, general information or specific anti-trafficking resources.

If you are a victim of human trafficking and need immediate help or if you suspect a potential trafficking situation, call your local law enforcement and the NHTRC hotline at 1-888-373-7888 now or text BeFree (233733).

24-Hour national human trafficking hotline: 1-888-373-7888 (or text Be Free/233733)

See below for a running list of Iowa-based organizations dedicated to raising human trafficking awareness and victim outreach/advocacy in Iowa:

Safety Alert

Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, call your local hotline, or call the statewide hotline.

Without basic needs for a safe environment and healthy relationships met, girls and women have little opportunity success in any part of their lives. The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women envisions a state where girls and women are safe and self-determined, and where those who need access to victim services can find it easily and locally. We support full funding of domestic violence and sexual assault centers and state and national laws that keep Iowans safe from intimate partner violence and sexual predators. Research tells us that the primary reason women don't leave abusive relationships is because they are economically dependent upon their abusers; for this reason, we also support financial literacy training for all women.

The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence also have general information about violence against women in Iowa, how to get involved in ending violence against women, and how to advocate for victim support services

Self Defense

Learning strategies for self-defense is important for women of all ages. Taking a self-defense or martial arts class can also feel extremely empowering. When researching classes you are interested in, look for classes that emphasize not only the physical aspect but also demonstrate knowledge of personal safety issues that are key for women.

Self-defense programs that will be most effective are those with instructors/curricula that address the unique experience of women. For example, many self-defense programs use scenarios where the aggressor is a stranger attacking unexpectedly. In reality, 84% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. These attacks involve emotional and psychological tactics that precede physical aggression. As a result, assertive communication and boundary setting are other key non-physical components.

Additionally, empowering self-defense programs will challenge societal attitudes that contribute to physical abuse and sexual assault, including victim blaming. If you prefer to read about self-defense prior to taking a class you may find the following helpful:

  1. When doing online searches make sure to use the word "women" in conjunction with "self defense" to yield better results.
  2. Read books that have a female perspective and/or stories of females overcoming attacks. A few examples are:
  • "Real Knockouts: The physical feminism of women's self-defense" by Martha McGaughey
  • "Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the warrior within women and girls" by Ellen Snortland
  • "Her Wits About Her: Self-defense success stories by women" edited by Denise Caigon and Gail Grove