[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 136 (Friday, October 2, 1998)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1879]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                            HON. BARBARA LEE

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, October 2, 1998

  Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to share with you the exemplary work of 
a community service organization that addressed the need for a battered 
woman's program in the East Bay. ``A Safe Place'' was founded by four 
women who began providing crisis counseling, referral, and information 
services from an office in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Oakland. 
Under the leadership of the Executive Director, Ms. Carolyn Russell, 
the agency has grown with expanded programs and services. A Safe Place 
continues to be the only shelter exclusively for women and children who 
are homeless due to domestic violence.
  A Safe Place exists to provide battered women and their children with 
transitional and supportive services to enable them to break the cycle 
of violence and regain a sense of self-esteem and personal power.
  A Safe Place is a comprehensive and holistic approach to service the 
needs of battered women and children under the Domestic Violence 
Assistance program. This program consists of Emergency Shelter, 
Community Counseling, Community Education and Outreach. A Safe Place 
provides urgent safe shelter with counseling and support services; a 
community counseling and support group, and education on domestic 
violence. A special therapeutic service is directed to children who 
have witnessed domestic violence. The most recent program, and one of 
its greatest accomplishments, is a partnership with the Oakland Police 
Department in its implementation of a Domestic Violence Unit located in 
the police department with family violence coordinators.
  Recognizing that domestic violence is a health issue and battered 
women are seen by medical providers, A Safe Place has developed 
partnerships with local hospitals to develop a Domestic Violence 
Medical Response Project, where staff can respond to battered women who 
are seen in local emergency rooms and clinics.
  Domestic violence in teen relationships has increased. ``Young People 
Taking Action'' is a comprehensive teen violence prevention educational 
program, providing education on teen relationship violence, resources 
and alternatives for battered teens and criteria for establishing 
healthy relationships. This program is successfully implemented in the 
Oakland Unified School District.
  A Safe Place has developed partnerships and joined forces with local 
agencies including law enforcement, the criminal justice system, 
medical community, social service agencies and with families and 
friends of battered women. The goal is to decrease domestic violence in 
our community to make it a safe place for our children to have a 
quality of life without fear and violence.
  In 1996, California law enforcement agencies fielded nearly 228,000 
domestic violence related calls. National crime surveys show that 
domestic violence directly affects our communities and families. A Safe 
Place provides a refuge and an important bridge for victims of domestic 
abuse to move to a position where they are better able to protect 
themselves. Part of this process draws in members of the larger 
community in forums to learn more about this epidemic.
  On October 23, 1998, A Safe Place will celebrate its 20th year of 
providing quality services to families in the East Bay in conjunction 
with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  I would like to extend my congratulations to A Safe Place for 20 
years of community service and to the five women being honored for 
their longstanding work: Liz Hendrickson, Kim Kline, Cheri Pies, Nancy 
Brester, and civil rights attorney, Eva Jefferson-Paterson, for her 
legal work on behalf of A Safe Place with the Oakland Police 
Department. Together with A Safe Place and other partners to decrease 
domestic violence, I am proud to join with A Safe Place and other 
partners to decrease domestic violence by encouraging the continuation 
of similar programs of community service to improve the quality of life 
of all our citizens.