We call it the Fearless Group.
It is a safe place where registered citizens, their families and friends can connect and learn from one another. The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, August 25, 2014 at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha.
Two more meetings at the same time and location are set for September 29 and October 20, 2014.
We recognize that many people in Nebraska will be unable to travel to attend this group. But there is nothing that prevents you from forming your own group in your locality. We will support efforts to create Fearless Group meetings across the state.
This group is exclusively for registered citizens, their family members and friends. We will not permit news media, law enforcement, treatment professionals, probation officers, etc. to attend this group. We will work with you to ensure this security measure is effective. The first meeting will be devoted primarily to discussing with you how we can make the group most useful for you and your particular circumstances.
If family members and friends prefer to meet separately from registered citizens, or vice versa, our space can accommodate two separate meeting rooms. We anticipate that the meeting will last about two hours. Anyone is free to leave at any time.
Here are a few of the things to keep in mind about this meeting:
- Who you see, what you say and what you hear here STAY HERE. Please respect the confidentiality of everyone and we in turn respect yours. The following exceptions exist: Anyone who indicates that they may be at risk of harming themselves or others, or who admits to committing crimes that are yet unknown to the police will create a legal liability for the group and we are required by law to report this to the authorities.
- This group is strictly for those 18 years of age and older.
- The Fearless Group is not intended for individuals who are actively contemplating suicide or suffering from a severe mental/emotional disorder. Anyone experiencing an active sexual addiction, or feels that they are at risk of re-offending, committing suicide or harming someone else is encouraged to seek professional assistance. This group is not equipped to handle these special needs.
- Any form or manifestation of violence is strictly prohibited. This includes physical assaults, shouting, aggressive behavior, verbal threats, behavior which is mean spirited, degrading, rude, etc.
- If we are talking as a group, please respect everyone’s right to be heard. Please keep your remarks to five minutes or fewer.
- Venting is OK. Endless whining is not.
- There are no dues or fees, but we encourage free-will donations to help us underwrite the cost of rent for the space we are using, coffee, snacks and printed materials. Leave cash in the bucket if you wish to give.
The Fearless Group is a response to a theme that emerged in research by Dr. Lisa Sample, University of Nebraska-Omaha Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. 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 the “mandatory reporting” law.
The Fearless Group 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 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. The Fearless Group is an effort to repair and prevent that damage.