On Tuesday, January 14th, the Harvey County Sexual Assault Response Team will meet at the North Newton Police Department at noon. There will be a presentation by Officer Josh Lowe, who is a certified in the F.E.T.I. (Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview). Afterward, the group will tour the new office for the trauma-informed interview space by Chief Randy Jordan; offices are located at the Mennonite Conference Building in North Newton.
In 2019, Police Chief Jordan contacted Safehope Executive Director Jan Jones about the North Newton Police Department’s commitment and plans in support of this important project. In partnership with North Newton Police Department, Safehope applied for the Et Cetera Shop Local Giving Fund, and was awarded $5,000 to purchase needed equipment, furniture and office space.
The interview room will be dedicated to adult victims who are survivors of violent crime and/or abuse. In addition, many of the victims will be suffering from some level of trauma. This interview room will be available to all law enforcement agencies in Harvey County through the guidance and supervision of the North Newton Police Department. The interviews will be recorded on video to help prevent the victim from telling her/his story numerous times. One of the greatest needs of anyone who has experienced or is experiencing high stress and/or trauma is the need to be safe; trust is central to that need. The interviewer must take responsibility to build trust in the most effective and appropriate way. The F.E.T.I. technique significantly enhances the quality and quantity of testimonial and psychophysiological evidence obtained. This method has also been shown to drastically reduce victim recantations, increase victim cooperation and participation and significantly improves chances for successful investigations and prosecutions.
Currently in Harvey County, law enforcement agencies are using interview rooms inside Newton Police Department and Harvey County Sheriff Department. These interview rooms have a sterile environment and they are the same interview rooms which are used to interview suspects. Research has shown that interview rooms located away from the law enforcement environment are less stressful for the already traumatized victim.
North Newton Police Department is the only agency in Harvey County with a certified Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (F.E.T.I.) law enforcement person. F.E.T.I. is a science and practiced-based interviewing methodology driven by the latest research on the neurobiology of trauma and memory.
Safehope provides advocacy and support to all survivors and secondary victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and mass violence in Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties. From 24-hour Help Line to supportive services to professional training, they offer crisis intervention, advocacy and support to address the needs of victims and their children.