Completed Projects

Done. Fini. Terminado.

Check out some of the VVSRL’s recently completed projects below. You’ll find brief descriptions and links to project leads and collaborators and some of the project publications and presentations.

Specialty Courts for Human Trafficking Victims

This project conducted a systematic review on trafficking specialty courts in the United States, including evidence of their effectiveness through qualitative and quantitative evaluations. Investigators included Teresa Kulig, PhD., and Leah Butler, PhD.  You can check out the study’s findings in Victims & Offenders or the Final Technical Report below.

Mobile Vulnerable Populations in Omaha

This project involves a collaboration between faculty at UNO in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (SCCJ), the Office for Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS), Religious Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology to examine the needs of Omaha services providers for refugees, migrants, human trafficking victims, and the homeless. The purpose of this project is to complete a systematic review of research on services for the select populations, and to create a database of Omaha networks that could assist these vulnerable individuals. Then, interviews and surveys will be used to determine the immediate needs of these community agencies to better serve their clients. Recommendations will be created to inform next steps on facilitating these requests. Investigators across UNO include Teresa Kulig, Ph.D., (SCCJ)Laura Alexander, Ph.D., (Religious Studies), Cristián Doña-Reveco, Ph.D., (OLLAS), and Allison Schlosser, Ph.D., (Sociology and Anthropology), with Morgan McBride, and Sawyer Stender serving as research assistants.

A Formative Evaluation and Evaluability Assessment of an Omaha Child Advocacy Center

This National Institute of Justice funded-project (NIJ 2019-V3-GX-0007) supported a formative evaluation and evaluability assessment of Project Harmony, a large child advocacy center (CAC) in Omaha, Nebraska, currently serving children who are victims of alleged child abuse. Investigators included Teresa, Kulig, Ph.D., Emily Wright, Ph.D., and Ryan Spohn, Ph.D. with Amber Krushas serving as a doctoral student research assistant. The ultimate goal was to lay the foundation for a future CAC outcome evaluation effort.

Promoting Gender and Racial Equity Through Transformative Housing Policies

Funded by a Great Plains IDeA-CTR Team Development Pilot grant, this project examined the connections between domestic and intimate partner violence, eviction, and racial disparities in Omaha through the development of a unique dataset including information on eviction and criminal justice system involvement. Investigators included an inter-university and interdisciplinary team from UNO’s Juvenile Justice Institute: Anne Hobbs, J.D., Ph.D., as well as criminology and criminal justice: Tara Richards, Ph.D. (UNO), psychiatry: Michelle Roley-Roberts, Ph.D. (Creighton University), and sociology: Pierce Greenberg, Ph.D. (Creighton University). UNO SCCJ doctoral students, Brian Gildea and Michaela Goldsmith, served as the graduate research assistants for the project. The team’s findings on the prevalence of DV victimization among those experiencing evictions, and evidence of the “poverty trap” are below.

The ultimate goal of the project was to convene partners from across governmental agencies, community-based non-profits, and mental health clinics to work holistically toward a data-driven, trauma-informed, restorative-justice approach to housing policies. The project culminated with a summit of more than 50 local stakeholders where strengths and areas of need regarding safe and affordable housing were mapped, and next steps for research and policy making were discussed.

“Going Missing” among Children in Foster Care

This project examined the prevalence, predictors, and context of “going missing” among youth in out-of-home care in Nebraska. Investigators include UNO’s Tara Richards, Ph.D. and Alyssa Nystrom in partnership with Nebraska’s Foster Care Review Office (FCRO). This collaboration aimed to offer data-driven recommendations to improve policy and practice for youth in out-of-home care per FCRO’s statutory mandate. Check out the team’s report to the legislature here and recent presentation to stakeholders below.

Domestic Violence Help Seeking Before and During COVID-19

This project examined longitudinal data on domestic violence (DV) calls to police and emergency hotlines before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to assess whether one, the other, both, or neither changed as a result of social distancing. Investigators Justin Nix, Ph.D. and Tara Richards, Ph.D. used both official and unofficial data to evaluate the short- and long-terms trends in DV help seeking during the pandemic. For more information check out their presentation to the United Nations 65th Annual Commission on the Status of Women, their rapid report in the journal Police Practice and Research, and their article in Criminology & Public Policy.

Missing and Murdered Native Women and Children in NE

This National Institute of Justice funded-project (NIJ 2019-75-CX-001) supported a new partnership between the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, the Nebraska State Patrol and UNO researchers Tara Richards, Ph.D., Emily Wright, Ph.D., Alyssa Nystrom,  Sheena Gilbert, and Caralin Branscum. The research team conducted a pilot study to identify (1) the scope and context of missing American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women and children in Nebraska, (2) the scope and context of murdered AI/AN women and children in Nebraska, (3) challenges and promising practices regarding reporting and investigation, and (4) data-driven recommendations for developing and strengthening partnerships to increase opportunities for justice and support. Read more about this study and view local news coverage or check out some of the study’s findings in the journal Race and Justice. The NIJ Final Report can be accessed here.