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Domestic violence shelter workers react to proposed DV bill - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Domestic violence shelter workers react to proposed DV bill

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) -

A bill changing the way South Carolina deals with criminal domestic violence offenders is one step closer to becoming a law. The House voted 81-23 to accept the Senate's version of the bill, and all it's waiting on now is Gov. Nikki Haley's signature.

Andria Baisley is the Community Education Coordinator at the Cumbee Center in Aiken, and she said the bill is definitely a step in the right direction to help start the conversation about domestic violence, but she also said this is not the last piece of legislation that needs to be passed.

"It's not a perfect bill, but there really is never a perfect bill. But it's being considered a very huge step in the right direction," Baisley said.

One of the biggest changes in the bill is a lifetime gun ban for those convicted of the worst offenses. Moderate offenders will get either a three or ten year ban.

Baisley said in South Carolina, guns are used in most domestic violence cases for a variety of reasons.

"It's a weapon that is easily accessible, it's a weapon that is going to be commonly used. Usually in domestic violence situations, it's all about power and control. What shows more power and control than pulling out a gun?" she said.

According to the violence Policy Center, South Carolina ranks second in the nation for women killed by men, and of the homicide victims who knew their offenders, 68 percent were murdered by a husband, ex-husband or boyfriend.

Baisley said this bill is a major step in the right direction, there is a major thing that could be added.

"Community education. Going into communities, educating on the prevalence of this issue, what the signs are, what an unhealthy relationship is, all of these things," said Baisley. "Also education within our school systems. We have kids right now in schools who are living in households where there is domestic violence."

The bill does create mandatory domestic violence education for middle schoolers, but Baisley wants to see classes for all students. She said the main thing to remember, is to never stop talking about the issue.

"This isn't the end, this is just the beginning," she said. "If we let this conversation drop, if we let the ball stop rolling, we're just going to be back where we are ten years from now."

No word yet on if and when Governor Haley will sign the bill. We will continue to update you as we learn the latest information.

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