Organization Name: Trauma Matters Omaha with Project Harmony
Mission: Our mission is to create safe, supportive and engaging communities throughout the Greater Omaha Metro Area where all people – young and old – can flourish.
Funded Program Description: Experiencing trauma takes a toll on people of all ages, and Trauma Matters Omaha aims to make sure we as a community are not re-traumatizing survivors. A trauma-informed community relies on first responders, organizations/public institutions and the general public to be aware of trauma and to be able to provide the responsive support to help survivors heal. Trauma Matters Omaha is a community-wide initiative housed at Project Harmony that aims to enhance responsiveness to trauma throughout Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass Counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie County in Iowa through providing trainings and supporting organizations in building cultures of trauma informed care.
Through the funding generously provided by The Kim Foundation, Trauma Matters Omaha was able to partner with Omaha Police Department’s Special Victims and Domestic Violence Units to send officers through Forensic Experiential Trauma Interviewing (FETI) training and to purchase furniture to adapt their interview rooms to fit this model.
FETI is a trauma-informed interview method that recognizes the impact of trauma on the brain and memory collection and helps frames questions in a way that simultaneously does not re-traumatize the interviewee and helps elicit detailed and helpful information relevant to the investigation.
Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: As the police officers have completed this training and started implementing these techniques into their interviewing, there have been countless positive reports. Detectives report having pages of notes after their FETI interviews from asking only a few, intentional, open-ended questions. A victim was able to recall memories with such detail including unique features of the offender’s hoodie strings and vehicle interior that played a pivotal role in officers finding and apprehending the suspect. After police had two previous unsuccessful interviews with a suspect, a FETI trained officer was able to apply these principles to interview the suspect and not only gain immensely detailed information, but also a confession. The positive outcomes have created interest in this trauma-informed interview training from other officers and departments. Still, the most celebrated of successes is that victims have reported their FETI interview experiences have helped them feel heard and supported amidst some of the most unimaginable circumstances.