Remarks in Recognition of the 30th Anniversary of CORA

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Remarks in Recognition of the 30th Anniversary of CORA



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ms. SPEIER. Madam Speaker, this week, CORA--Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse--celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of comprehensive domestic violence support in San Mateo County.

Three decades ago, a victim of domestic violence on the San Francisco peninsula had no resources outside of hospitals and the police. Then in 1978, La Casa de San Mateo opened its doors to become the county's first and only emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors and their children. La Casa later changed its name to the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention and in 2003, partnered with Sor Juana Ines, the first toll-free domestic violence hotline in the county, to become CORA.

CORA's mission is to end domestic violence and abuse through intervention and prevention. The dedicated staff and volunteers respond to thousands of calls on the CORA hotline, and answer an equal number of requests for legal assistance each year. They serve more than 6,000 clients annually, providing legal, medical and mental health services, as well as counseling and safety in the county's only shelter for abuse victims and their children. This operation is overseen by the CORA governing board and a diverse staff of 35 who represent the vibrant cross-section of the county and region. Besides English and Spanish, CORA staff-members speak Tagalog, French, Mandarin, Italian, Korean, Hindi, and Farsi.

Madam Speaker, domestic violence is a silent epidemic. Every nine seconds, a woman in our country is abused by someone she knows. Millions of children witness acts of violence involving one or more parents every year. And one in five female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

Domestic violence impacts all of us. It is a significant drain on police and emergency resources and costs the national economy eight to ten billion dollars annually in medical bills, community support and lost wages and productivity. It is also a leading cause of homelessness and often leads to depression, substance abuse and--most troubling--an increased likelihood that victims and young witnesses will go on to become abusers themselves.

Madam Speaker, thanks to increased public awareness, domestic abuse is emerging from the shadows of shame and ignorance. Still, there are far too many instances of cruel and dehumanizing behavior within what should be the security of the family home. Because of this, society will always need an organization like CORA. My sincere hope is that, someday, we will need them less.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).