Victimology and Victim Studies Research Lab
Victimology and Victim Studies Research Lab
The mission of the Victimology and Victim Studies Research Lab (VVSRL) is to conduct high quality research related to crime victims and crime victimization, inform policy and practice, and help shape prevention and intervention efforts.
The VVSRL draws from undergraduate students engaged in UNO’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s (SCCJ) victim studies concentration/minor and SCCJ’s masters and doctoral students and utilizes a structured mentoring model to develop future generations of victimology scholars. VVSRL student and faculty researchers have the opportunity to work across the Lab’s diverse portfolio of funded projects and future grant proposals promoting cross-teaching and learning and cultivating peer-to-peer mentorship.
Promoting Gender and Racial Equity Through Transformative Housing Policies
Funded by a Great Plains IDeA-CTR Team Development Pilot grant, this project examines the connections between domestic and intimate partner violence, eviction, and racial disparities in Omaha through the development of unique data including information on eviction and criminal justice system involvement. We aim to bring together 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. Investigators include 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, serve as the graduate research assistants for the project.
This project examines 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. use 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 and their rapid report in the journal Police Practice and Research.
This National Institute of Justice funded-project (NIJ 2019-MU-MU-0095) supports a collaboration between the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Alexandra House (a victim service provider), the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (the statewide coalition of sexual assault programs), and researchers at UNO and University of Louisville (UNL). Investigators include UNO’s Justin Nix, Ph.D., Tara Richards, Ph.D., and Emily Wright, Ph.D. as well as UNL’s Bradley Campbell, Ph.D. Doctoral student research fellow, Caralin Branscum is also assisting on the project. This researcher-practitioner partnership aims to examine the processes, outcomes, and cost-benefit of the MN Sexual Assault Kit initiative.
This National Institute of Justice funded-project (NIJ 2019-75-CX-001) supports a new partnership between the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, which represents the four tribes of Nebraska: Omaha Tribe, Ponca Tribe, Santee Sioux Tribe, and Winnebago Tribe, as well as other Native persons living on and off tribal lands in Nebraska, the Nebraska State Patrol and researchers at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Investigators are Justin Nix, Ph.D., Tara Richards, Ph.D., and Emily Wright, Ph.D. Two doctoral student research fellows, Sheena Gilbert and Alyssa Nystrom, are also assisting on the project. The research team will conduct a pilot study involving the collection of preliminary data and secondary data analysis on the topics of murdered and/or missing Native persons in Nebraska. Read more about this study and view local news coverage. The Team has also developed recommendations for conducting research in Native American communities and for strengthening VAWA to better protect Indigenous women.
This National Institute of Justice funded-project (NIJ 2019-V3-GX-0007) aims to conduct 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. Project Harmony is one of the largest CACs in the nation. The ultimate goal is to lay the foundation for future CAC outcome evaluation efforts. Investigators include Teresa Kulig, Ph.D., Ryan Spohn, Ph.D., and Emily Wright, Ph.D., with Amber Krushas serving as a doctoral student research assistant. Community partner investigator includes Lynn Castrianno, Ph.D., with Project Harmony. Read more about this study.
This Office of Violence Against Women funded-project (OVW-2019-SI-AX-0002) assesses whether supportive services for common psychosocial problems (e.g., unemployment, mental health problems, substance abuse, and parenting issues) provided by community partners on site at a batterer program – Baltimore, Maryland’s House of Ruth’s Gateway Project – can reduce violent and non-violent criminal re-offending in a high-risk urban sample. Investigators include an inter-university and interdisciplinary team from public health: Charvonne Holiday, Ph.D. (JHU), psychology: Christopher Murphy, Ph.D. (UMBC), and criminology: Tara Richards, Ph.D. (UNO). Community Partners from Baltimore, Maryland’s House of Ruth’s Gateway Project include Ann Marie Brokmeier, Ange Manning-Green and Lisa Nitsch.
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 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.
This project involves the exploration of the prevalence, incidence, and prevention of cyber victimization. This includes the use of survey research to measure the prevalence and incidence intimate partner cyber abuse and to identify risk factors for experiencing such abuse. Survey instruments to identify and evaluate bystander intervention strategies for preventing cyber victimization are also under development. The project is in its early stages, but ultimately aims to identify new frontiers in victimization research that will provide numerous opportunities for future grant applications and journal publications.
Caralin Branscum, first-year doctoral student
Sheena Gilbert, first-year doctoral student
Brian Gildea, first-year doctoral student
Amber Krushas, second-year doctoral student
Morgan McBride, first-year masters student
Alyssa Nystrom, first-year doctoral student
Leah Butler, Assistant Professor
Teresa Kulig, Assistant Professor
Tara Richards, Associate Professor
Emily Wright, Professor