CORA maintains the only hotline in San Mateo County just for intimate partner abuse. This hotline is the gateway to all of CORA’s services for survivors of intimate partner abuse who often have nowhere else to turn. In operation since 1977, CORA’s hotline provides tools and immediate life-saving support, enabling survivors to find safety and ultimately live their lives free of abuse. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, CORA’s trained, bilingual crisis counselors provide callers with trauma-informed crisis counseling, safety planning, access to safe houses, legal services, mental health programs and referrals to other community resources. Callers accessing our crisis services end the phone call with a safety plan, so they have tools for keeping themselves and their families safe. For callers hoping to learn more about intimate partner abuse, CORA provides education 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 intimate partner abuse 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 through 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 intimate partner abuse survivors at the scene of 911 intimate partner abuse 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 intimate partner abuse 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 situation. 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 intimate partner abuse and their children continuously for the last 40 years. Our confidential safe houses are unique in that we accommodate not only female clients but also their 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. Coni’s House is our safe house with six beds. Recognizing that shelters for survivors of intimate partner abuse have different requirements than other shelters (such as homeless shelters), CORA has developed a solution for traumatized survivors that goes beyond putting a roof over their heads by also attending to the trauma they have suffered. Client advocates work with survivors to create a plan for self-reliance and empowerment after the safe house stay and to restore the survivor’s sense of safety and connectedness. Additionally, CORA offers all safe house residents culturally appropriate wraparound support services in various languages, as needed.