Curbing Domestic Violence: What’s Working, What’s Not - WSPA.com

Curbing Domestic Violence: What’s Working, What’s Not

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Forty-eight silhouettes lined the entrance to Falls Park, each a silent reminder of a person killed last year by someone who was supposed to love them. Forty-eight silhouettes lined the entrance to Falls Park, each a silent reminder of a person killed last year by someone who was supposed to love them.
GREENVILLE, S.C. -

As Brenda Mitchell strolled through Downtown Greenville, she wasn't expecting to see this.

“That’s so sad,” said Mitchell, crouching down for a closer look.

Forty-eight silhouettes lined the entrance to Falls Park, each a silent reminder of a person killed last year by someone who was supposed to love them.

"67-year-old domestic?” said Mitchell, reading signs on the silhouettes. “Sixteen?”

Nestled in with them are photos of the five victims in Monday's mass murder in Greenwood.

“What else can we do? That question always comes to mind," said Traci Fant, whose organization Think2xTwice.org put up the display.

Fant said she could have easily been one of these silhouettes, a victim of abuse for seven years.

Now she says one thing that needs to change is a South Carolina law that caps the bond judges can set for first-time domestic violence charges at $5,000. That means right now, someone accused beating up their spouse can get out of jail for $500 or less.

Her organization has started a petition to rally support for a change.

“Until the laws change, nothing else will change. We will continue to see the numbers grow," said Fant.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he'd like state legislators to raise the cap to $30,000 or drop it altogether. Wilson said it would give suspects a longer "cooling off" period in jail. He said he intends to bring it up to legislators before their next session in January.

One effort to curb domestic violence by Spartanburg Public Safety has seen success. For the past year, officers have been asking victims at domestic violence scenes questions from what they call a "lethality screen." It helps officers figure out how much danger victims might be in and how much help they need.

Out of the 94 victims officers determined were in “high danger,” 76 percent agreed to talk to a domestic violence advocate from SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis immediately. Forty-six percent moved to a shelter.

Forty-three percent filed for orders of protection. Twenty-two percent got therapy.

Domestic violence organizations:

Greenville County

Safe Harbor

Hotline: 800-291-2139

Phone: 864-467-1177

Spartanburg County

SAFE Homes, Rape Crisis Coalition

Hotline: 800-273-5066

Phone: 864-583-9803

South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Hotline: 800-260-9293

Phone: 803-256-2900


Related:
4 Adults, 2 Children Killed in Greenwood Co. Murder-Suicide
Law Enforcement Trains to Respond to Criminal Domestic Violence Calls
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