One of their larger initiatives is partnering with law enforcement agencies to make what they call, “soft interview rooms.”
Project Beloved was created by Tracy Matheson after her daughter Molly Jane was raped and murdered.
Matheson decided to take her pain and turn it into something that could help other people.
“I have to do something. I cannot sit here and just try to figure out how to put my life back together, but I have to take our story and let Molly’s life and her light be a catalyst for change so that we can do better in how we respond to and how we investigate cases of sexual assault,” said Matheson.
An initiative of Project Beloved is partnering with law enforcement to install soft interview rooms as a part of a trauma-informed care approach.
“By having a soft interview room, you’re providing a space that looks and feels comfortable. That is not what you’re expecting as you walk into a law enforcement agency. It’s an intimidating place to be, no matter the circumstance just because it’s law enforcement,” said Matheson.
The Minot Police Department was put on a waiting list, and in July of this year, the department’s own soft interview room was complete, making it the 50th room of its kind in the country.
The room gives a warm and welcoming environment for people to feel more at ease when speaking with law enforcement.
“We sit them down and make sure that they’re comfortable, provide them water, provide them aromatherapy, whatever they choose. they can kinda direct how they want this interview to go. They can let us know what they need to feel a little bit more comfortable. And then we just proceed forward with the investigation,” said Kirstin Guerton, a detective for the department.
Although the Domestic Violence Crisis Center is not involved with the interview room, the assistant director knows firsthand why it’s important to have a room like this.
“Reliving trauma and explaining trauma to a stranger is really difficult. And being able to just have a little bit of comfort, while you’re explaining something that happened to you or that traumatized you, is really too important to just have that little bit of comfort to just kinda help your mind relax and to help disclose as much information as possible,” said Tara Bjornson, the assistant director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.
Although Matheson wasn’t able to see the soft interview room in person, she hopes to visit North Dakota one day to see the impact of her organization.
The soft interview rooms are funded by donations made to Project Beloved.