As the only domestic violence specific hotline in San Mateo County, our hotline is the gateway to all of CORA’s services for survivors of domestic violence, who often have nowhere else to turn due to isolation by their abuser. In operation since 1977, our hotline provides tools and immediate lifesaving support, enabling survivors to find safety and ultimately live lives free of abuse. Trained crisis counselors provide callers with trauma-informed crisis counseling, safety planning, access to our safe house, legal services, mental health programs and referrals to other community resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers accessing crisis services end the phone call with a safety plan, so they know how to keep themselves and their families safe. For callers hoping to learn more about domestic abuse, education is provided to break the cycle of violence.
With intimate knowledge of local resources and current trends in the field, our crisis counselors apply best practices in working with domestic violence survivors. Crisis counselors receive a minimum of 40 hours of domestic violence training certified by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and are fluent in Spanish and English. Other languages are available for translation though an AT&T translation service.
The Emergency Response Program is our partnership with all San Mateo County law enforcement agencies (over 20 agencies). The goals of CORA’s ERP are to provide immediate, telephone-based crisis counseling to domestic violence survivors at the scene of 911 domestic violence calls and to connect survivors with CORA’s supportive services, including emergency housing, legal services and counseling. This service is provided 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
The ERP program benefits both those affected by domestic violence and local law enforcement. With CORA’s trained crisis counselor attending to the needs of the survivor using a trauma-informed approach, the officer can focus on the legal aspects of the call. In cases when immediate crisis intervention is not needed or appropriate, the police summary is sent to CORA via a secure web-based system, and an ERP crisis counselor attempts to contact each survivor within 48 hours after the initial referral to offer appropriate services.
CORA has been operating San Mateo County’s only safe houses for survivors of domestic violence and their children continuously for the last 40 years. In addition to women, our confidential safe houses are unique in that we accommodate clients with children as well as male clients. Lisa’s House, CORA’s original and largest safe house, is a three-floor apartment building with 22 beds that provides clients with up to an 8-week stay. Opened in 2014, Coni’s House is CORA’s second safe house with 6 beds. Because the driving force behind shelter for survivors of domestic violence is different from that of other shelters (such as homeless shelters), CORA has developed a solution for traumatized survivors that not only puts a roof over their heads, but also attends to the trauma they suffered. Client advocates work with survivors to create a plan for self-reliance and empowerment away from the safe house and to restore a sense of safety and connectedness. Additionally, all residents are offered multilingual, culturally appropriate wraparound support services as needed.