Mental Injury

"Mental injury" is defined as any mental injury to a child's intellectual or psychological capacity as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function within the child's normal range of performance and behavior as the result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child, if the impairment is diagnosed and confirmed by a licensed physician or qualified mental health professional as defined in Iowa Code section 622.10.
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.