Getting Away with Murder: A Report on Domestic Violence in South Carolina
Dr. Lisabeth Saunders-MedlockPrepared for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, October 2003
“Domestic violence is a serious and pervasive problem in South Carolina. South Carolina ranked first in the nation with the highest homicide rate among female victims by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents for 2001 (Violence Policy Center, 2003). There were 132.9 victims of domestic violence per 10,000 people in South Carolina from 1996 through 2000 (Department of Public Safety Statistical Analysis Center (McManus), 2000). And, in a recent statewide survey, 12.5% of respondents reported experiencing physical abuse in an intimate relationship at some time in their lives (USC Institute for Public Service and Policy Research (Oldendick), 2003).
What happens to the victims of domestic violence and to their abusers? What type of services and supports do we provide them? What are we doing to prevent domestic violence in our communities? These were some of the questions addressed by a statewide needs assessment conducted in Summer and Fall of 2003. The primary goal of the needs assessment was to gather information from community service providers, domestic violence programs and victims of domestic violence on the availability and scope of shelter and community-based services throughout South Carolina, with a specific focus on identifying unmet needs of victims, problems with the criminal justice and social service systems, and gaps in services. Information from the needs assessment was gathered, in part, to inform policymakers, service providers and the criminal justice system about how to best direct resource allocation toward services that address domestic violence and policies and programs aimed at reducing and preventing domestic violence. The needs assessment for South Carolina was modeled after similar needs assessments conducted in other states.
The first section of this document addresses the scope of the problem of domestic violence through reporting both national and state level data from crime and murder statistics, and national and state level household surveys. The second section of this report focuses on the experiences of domestic violence victims in South Carolina. The third section of this report discusses the response to domestic violence through detailing the services and support provided by the 13 domestic violence programs in South Carolina. Data on the number of victims served, the demographics to describe the population of victims served, and the availability and nature of services provided by programs was collected from the DV programs. The fourth section of this report focuses on the ability of the local service and criminal justice systems to provide victims with the supports and services they need The last section of the report includes a summary of the problems identified with the systems that serve victims, the key needs of victims, gaps in services, and suggestions for improvement. Lastly, there are a set of recommendations on how to improve the criminal justice and social service system response to domestic violence, as well as address and prevent domestic violence in local communities.
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Talk with the researcher:
Dr. Lisabeth Saunders-Medlock, Results Consulting, firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about violence against women in South Carolina
South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assualt, www.sccadvasa.org