Home Workers Compensation Law Home violence takes a heavy toll in Georgia, South Carolina

Home violence takes a heavy toll in Georgia, South Carolina


COLUMBIA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) — Domestic violence is a nationwide epidemic costing an estimated $3.6 trillion a year in the United States — and Georgia and South Carolina are no strangers to the problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

A new study estimates that domestic violence cost $358.4 million in South Carolina in 2020.

And in Georgia, from 2016 to 2020, there were 254,905 reported incidents of family violence and 770 known deaths related to family violence.

Separate reports have been released detailing the problem on both sides of the Savannah River.

In South Carolina

Findings from a South Carolina report show that 82,379 people in Palmetto state are victims of intimate partner violence. South Carolina ranks 11th nationwide for the rate of women murdered by men, with a rate of 1.68 per 100,000, according to the Violence Policy Center.

The new study was commissioned by the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage and conducted by Dr. Joseph C. Von Nessen of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. The results were presented Tuesday in a press conference at the South Carolina State House.

The study found that the greatest economic impacts will occur in the state’s most densely populated areas — including Charleston, Columbia and the Upstate — because more people live in those areas.

But the economist and groups behind this study also emphasize that domestic violence is a nationwide problem that’s happening everywhere — and it will take nationwide efforts to prevent and stop it.

“Unfortunately, for the past 17 years, our state has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for feminicide in each of the last 17 years,” von Nessen said. “South Carolina ranks seventh among all states for the percentage of women who have experienced intimate partner violence at some point in their lives. And about 42% of women and 29% of men in South Carolina expect to experience intimate partner violence at least once in their lives.”

The $358.4 million figure includes both the explicit costs of domestic violence and what Von Nessen called the “hidden costs.”

Explicit costs, he said, include program initiatives such as shelters, general support mechanisms for victim support and public awareness, healthcare and law enforcement costs.

But the hidden costs, which he said are impossible to fully quantify, are financial implications most people don’t think about — things like the harm and overall well-being of victims and their families who are unable to to return to their normal lives, as well as workers’ productivity losses.”

Sara Barber of the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault said: “We can no longer hide this issue in plain sight. We must clearly recognize the need, use our resources to respond, and recognize that the importance of this work permeates every part of our families, our communities, and the economic well-being of our state.”

Von Nessen called for better measures to prevent domestic violence.

“This is really a nationwide issue that we need to address and take seriously,” he said.

Lt. gov. Pamela Evette said the impact goes well beyond the financial cost.

“This is an issue where we can all come together,” Evette said. “It’s not a question of Democrats or Republicans. It’s not a question of rich or poor. This problem can affect anyone, any family, anywhere in our state.”

Evette said Gov. Henry McMaster asked for $600,000 for domestic violence programs.

She urged people to talk to each other about the issue and have “tough talks”.

“Let’s make South Carolina the state that really initiates change,” she said.

State lawmakers say having this kind of data for the first time ever is game-changing — and will help them make policy changes to reflect it.

Rep. Kambrell Garvin, D-Richland, said: “To break the cycle of violence, we must make efforts to prevent violence from entering our homes and our communities. It is imperative that we finally make prevention education a priority in every South Carolina school to teach students about the cycle of violence, healthy relationships and the impact this is having on the spread of violence in our community.”

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, who has worked for a social worker, said the reason the data is important is “a changing society.”

“When we started doing this work, you were able to touch people’s hearts and get them to really care. Those days are over,” she said. “If you want to be successful, you have to be able to have proof. You cannot rely on the heart and pull on hearts.”

In Georgia

The Georgia Commission on Family Violence outlined some aspects of the problem in a newly released report titled Male Involvement in Family Violence Incidents.

“Domestic violence is about power and control,” the report said. “An abusive partner or family member maintains control over their victims through many types of abuse, such as B. physical, psychological and / or economic. The goal is to gain and maintain dominance over another person using various tactics to carry out the abuse.”

To report abuse, victims must overcome the control tactics being used on them, the report said.

The commission says some victims face additional barriers to reporting the problem or seeking help. Examples include individuals in the LGBTQ community, immigrant communities, and male victims who may be disbelieving that they are being abused.

Commission Director April Ross comments: “Our agency is focused on broadening the horizon and creating a more inclusive approach to domestic violence.”

The Georgia Commission on Family Violence is a state agency established by the Georgian General Assembly in 1992 to develop a comprehensive state plan to end family violence in Georgia.

For confidential resources and support, call 800-33-HAVEN, the nationwide 24-hour domestic violence hotline.


From WRDW/WAGT, WCSC and WIS reports