Legislation & Community Policy
Providing the research foundation for smarter policy.
Providing the Research Foundation for Smarter Policy
HTI Labs works to ensure that policy changes are driven by what we know works, and that policy is implemented in a way that allows us to know more. Some example of our policy and legislative efforts are described below.
Survivors of sex trafficking are definitionally forced to commit a crime (prostitution) against their will. These criminal records make it more difficult for survivors to regain control of their lives, even after they’ve escaped their trafficking situation, by making it more difficult to find a job, get housing or complete many other tasks that require background checks.
HTI Labs worked with the Women’s Fund of Omaha, Senator Pansing-Brooks and other partners to address this challenge through new legislation. We researched what other states and localities had done, worked with stakeholders across the Nebraska community to understand their concerns and formulated a bill allowing trafficking survivors to set aside criminal convictions directly resulting from their trafficking.
With the help of many wonderful advocates across the community, the bill passed without a single “No” vote in March 2018. Now we’re working to understand the effects of this new law and identify any improvements that should be made.
Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Data
HTI Labs is committed to building and managing a more sustainable and user-friendly way of integrating, displaying, and analyzing data on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Douglas County. The project is producing system-level data on domestic violence necessary for federal grant requirements and a strong foundation for community awareness and response efforts.
Rather than using aggregated data from each part of the system (from 911 operators through prosecution), we track data across the criminal justice system. Our intention is to do the same thing for sexual assault and stalking in order to keep Douglas County competitive for federal grants that are increasingly requiring system-level data.
Illuminating Current Practice for a Smarter Policy Response
Effective policy responses for domestic violence must be grounded in a comprehensive view of the system from 911 to prosecution. HTI Labs is building and managing a sustainable way of integrating, displaying, and analyzing data on domestic violence across the county.
- Are 911 operators identifying domestic violence situations effectively?
- Are law enforcement officers giving victims relevant information on services?
- Is it clear that victims are not responsible for deciding whether offenders get prosecuted?
Our tool allows users to identify and quickly respond to new challenges in the realm of domestic violence as they’re emerging. An increase in certain types of violence might necessitate new policy responses. Whether highlighting gaps between current policy and practice or places for new interventions, HTI Labs’ tools seek to turn data from across the system into actionable insights.