Solicitor's office, Lowcountry Center team up for children

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - This year, millions of children may witness domestic violence in their own homes with life long emotional and psychological affects.

"They get angry they don't know how to handle it." A domestic violence victim said of her children. "They don't even know who they are angry at. They're very confused and it resulted in a lot of problems with school and drug problems."

Scarlett A. Wilson, a solicitor of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, said domestic violence isn't just about two people. It involves the whole family.

"When you think about domestic violence, just for a minute, put aside the couple that's fighting and think about the child that is around the corner, down the hall or hiding under the bed" said Wilson.

Together the Ninth Circuit Solicitors Office and the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center want to make sure children are included on domestic violence reports.

"Without being on the incident report, these kids aren't able to access other services they need" said Dr. Libby Ralston, director of the Dee Norton Children's Center.

"Children love their parents even if their parents are hurting them, even if there is domestic violence" said Ralston.

The state office of victim assistance provides service entitlements for parents listed on a police report. That means they will get treatment and could be reimbursed for time away from work.

Right now, children are sometimes listed on the reports as victims and sometimes they're not included at all. That means they won't receive funds for medical or mental health treatment.

In South Carolina, there are approximately 36,000 domestic violence cases reported each year. Out of those cases, the number of children who witness the abuse could be well in the thousands.

Here in the Lowcountry, children who witness domestic violence can go to the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center. There they can receive treatment free of charge.

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