COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A new study released Tuesday shows domestic violence is costing South Carolina millions of dollars every year.

Economist Dr. Joey Von Nessen with the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business estimated domestic violence in 2020 led to over $358.4 million in economic losses.

According to Von Nessen, this is the first type of study done examining the economic impacts of domestic violence here in South Carolina.

The study showed the costs related to loss of life and worker productivity, physical and mental health care,
loss of property, police and court costs, incarceration costs, and the costs associated with the dollars spent on various domestic violence programs, shelters, and centers along with associated volunteer hours.

Von Nessen said there are explicit and hidden costs. The study shows the largest economic impacts of domestic violence in South Carolina occur in the major metropolitan regions of the state – including Charleston, Columbia, and the Upstate.

Von Nessen said, “There is a need for domestic violence and prevention and assistance in every county in South Carolina. It’s important to recognize this is a statewide phenomenon and problem. Not just a problem in rural counties or urban counties.”

The study was commissioned by the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage. Jamie’s parents founded the Charlotte-based nonprofit after she was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2012.

Her father Ron said, “It was darkest day as you can imagine for parents to ever hear the news their daughter who had finally separated herself from a relationship died at the hands of that ex-boyfriend.” Kimble said they didn’t want Jamie’s story to end there.

Their foundation’s goal is to stop intimate partner abuse before it starts. Kimble’s said they hope this study will help with that.

State leaders said addressing domestic violence is something they must all work together. Members of the General Assembly, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, and Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette all attended a news conference Tuesday morning for the study’s release.

Rep. Gilda Cobb Hunter (D-Orangeburg) said, “We have passed a number of laws on this issue. You can pass all the legislation in the world but we have to be about changing the minds and hearts of those in the community.”

Findings from the study indicate that annually 82,379 South Carolinians will be victims of intimate partner violence. Officials say South Carolina ranks eleventh in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, with a rate of 1.68 per 100,000, according to the most recent edition of the annual Violence Policy Center (VPC) study When Men Murder Women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.