South Carolina is standing by its promise to tackle the domestic violence that plagues our state. Today, Governor Nikki Haley signed new legislation toughening penalties for domestic abusers, and providing more protection for victims. The bill will also ban certain batterers from owning guns.
Gov. Haley was quoted as saying the bill “no longer puts the convenience of the abuser first.” According to The Post and Courier, which published the Pulitzer Prize-winning series, “Till Death Do Us Part,” examining our state’s domestic violence problem, “Supporters say the measure represents a key step in fighting an epidemic of violence and killings across the state by spouses and loved ones. South Carolina is consistently among the worst in the nation for men killing women they know.”
In our current system, punishment for domestic violence is determined by how many offenses the defendant has. According to counting.com, “The bill punishes abusers based on the severity of the attack, the number of prior offenses and other factors, like whether the victim was strangled, is pregnant or children saw the abuse. The proposal also provides a lifetime gun ban for the worst abusers and has an automatic three- or 10-year ban in other cases.”
Attorney General Alan Wilson said, “While the bill is not perfect and is not the last measure of domestic violence reform needed, it is a giant first step in combating domestic violence…I look forward to working with Gov. Haley and members of the General Assembly in the future to take the additional steps necessary to further combat this heinous crime in South Carolina.”
Haley’s office held a ceremony to sign the bill this morning, with the Governor surrounded by law makers and other supporters of the effort.