United States: High Rate of Lethal Domestic Violence in South Carolina
Friday, August 22, 2014 2:45 PM

South Carolina has one of the highest rates of women killed by men in the U.S. The state averages 36,000 reported incidents of domestic violence per year, and more than 300 women have died as a result of domestic violence in South Carolina over the past decade.

According to a seven-part report published by the The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina’s high death and domestic violence rates are attributable to several factors. These include the state’s conservative culture, inadequate laws and policies on domestic violence that undermine protective orders and allow abusers to walk free, and limited resources and shelter for abused women. The report highlights the fact that all 46 South Carolina counties have shelters for abandoned and abused pets but only 18 counties have shelters for women victims of violence. Dozens of interviews with police, prosecutors, advocates, social service providers, victims and lawmakers revealed “an ingrained, multi-generational problem in South Carolina,” one that “remains a silent epidemic, a private matter that is seldom discussed outside the home until someone is seriously hurt.”

The report’s final installment offers several proposals to reform South Carolina’s inadequate approach to lethal domestic violence. The proposals are based on best practices recommended or implemented elsewhere in the U.S., including stricter penalties for first-time domestic violence offenses and higher bond limits, lethality screenings in response to domestic violence complaints, and a more effective system for issuing and enforcing protective orders. 

Compiled from: Friedersdorf, Conor, A Deadly Epidemic of Violence Against Women, The Atlantic (August 22, 2014); Pardue, Doug, et al., Till death do us part, The Post and Courier (2014).