Smith on Domestic Violence in SC

“Being 6th is not, at all, where we should be”

South Carolina Radio Network
October 03, 2018 - 12:37 pm

RENEE SEXTON (South Carolina Radio Network): The Democratic Party’s candidate for South Carolina Governor says the state needs to do more to lower the rate of domestic violence.

A recent study by the Violence Policy Center ranked South Carolina sixth in female deaths by men.  Former State Representative James Smith attended the Silent Witness Ceremony Tuesday at the South Carolina State House.

“Being number six is not, at all, where we should be,” Smith said.  

SC State Rep. James Smith

He said he and running mate Mandy Powers Norrell have been visiting service organizations and shelters that help domestic violence victims across the state to develop a strategy for addressing the issue.

“Several things we need to do: we need — have available access to more shelters. We need more programs that help young people see what healthy relationships are like,” he said.

Smith also would like to have all degrees of domestic violence tried by solicitors in circuit courts. They would protect the confidentiality of domestic violence victims and advocates.

“There’s some good things happening in our state that are helping to provide access to resources for victims, give them tools and resources they need to get to a place of freedom and that’s the type of work we’re going to do,” Smith said. “We need access to more services for victims and so how can we support our domestic violence centers, our CACs (children’s advocacy centers) out there, which need support from the state and also the support of local law enforcement? Then we’re going to find ways to reduce the incidences of domestic violence.”

Smith said for some domestic violence victims, resources and shelters are not easily accessible.

“There’s some areas in our state where victims have to travel two hours, an hour-and-a-half, to get to their shelter. So we just don’t have enough resources out there to deal with domestic violence in our state,” he said.

Smith said it was important to attend the Silent Witness Ceremony Tuesday.

“It really is important to show our community and our state how pervasive this is and how we must address it and how we must deliver on the resources needed to reduce domestic violence in our state,” Smith said.

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