CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There are more than 32,000 cases of intimate partner violence in South Carolina each year, according to statistics provided by the state and My Sister’s House in Charleston.
North Charleston’s Police Chief Reggie Burgess said this year is already off to a rough start.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Burgess said 3 of 4 homicides his detectives have investigated so far this year involved domestic violence, and it’s still January. Those deaths were of one male and two females, he said.
That’s one reason they met with community partners and the solicitor’s office Tuesday to bring light to what they call a pandemic within a pandemic.
For years South Carolina was on list of top ten states when it came to domestic violence offenses.
And while we’re finally off that list - ranking eleventh - South Carolina is still considerably above the national average for intimate partner violence.
At the event today, speakers said 25% of women nationally experience intimate partner violence; 41% of women in South Carolina do.
And, they added, while we don’t hear about it as much, men experience intimate partner violence, too. That’s 10% of men nationally and 17% of South Carolina men.
Unfortunately, Tosha Connors said, COVID 19 has exacerbated offenders’ ways to control their partners.
Connors is the CEO of My Sister’s Housein Charleston, a local nonprofit that provides services such as counseling, housing and court advocacy for families experiencing violence.
“You have abusers using the pandemic as another tool in their arsenal,” she said. “To keep people afraid, and keep them at home. ‘If you don’t do what I say, or don’t do what I want, you’re going to get sick, Im gonna kick you out of the house, you’re gonna get COVID, you’re gonna die.’”
24-hour crisis line: 1-800-273-4673
Representatives from the Palmetto Hope Network also spoke today about their effort to fill in the gap in services. They might help a victim get a hotel, file orders of protections or transition to a new home and get clothes and furniture, for example.