Newsletter: ‘Safe Space’ Initiative Will Go Forward

Nebraskans Unafraid will provide a place where registered citizens, their families and friends can meet and learn from one another, according to the July issue of the Ninety-Five% Newsletter published by NU.

The initiative has the endorsement of one of the nation’s leading experts in sex offender law and its impact on families.

“Families affected by these laws need a place where they can connect with others who understand what they are going through,” said Lisa Sample, Ph.D., Reynolds Professor and Masters Program Coordinator in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

NU is obtaining a venue and determining a schedule for a meeting place where folks may meet with others who are in similar circumstances, and learn from one another about surviving life on Nebraska’s public shaming website. The initial plan is to provide separate rooms where registered citizens could meet and where their family members and friends could gather. Details will be announced in future posts.

The “safe space” idea is a response to a theme that emerged in research by Dr. Sample. Registered citizens and their family members expressed a need for a place where they can simply talk freely about their situations. Many do not even trust therapists because of Nebraska’s “mandatory reporting” law. That’s the law that requires therapists to turn over to law enforcement some of their patients.

The “safe space” initiative is, in effect, an extension of the research that Dr. Sample is conducting. It is our hope that, in addition to providing a needed sense of community support, the “safe space” initiative will help Dr. Sample, her students and her colleagues continue their work. It is important to document the damage done by Nebraska law as well as the successes won by registered citizens in a state with a law that seems designed to make them fail.

Nebraska law forces registered citizens out of their homes and jobs, harms family relationships and leads to public shunning and shaming. “Safe space” will be an effort to repair and prevent that kind of damage.

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