On September 17th the first hearing of the Criminal Domestic Violence Reform Committee met. The panel was appointed in the wake of The Post and Courier’s multi-part series titled “Till death do us part,” about South Carolina’s staggering death toll from domestic violence. Rep. Shannon Erickson chairs the 10-member committee made up of Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, MaryGail Douglas, Ralph Kennedy, Deborah Long, Peter McCoy Jr., Robert Ridgeway III, Eddie Tallon, Sr., Anne Thayer, and David Weeks.
The committee heard from experts and professionals from a diversity of backgrounds. Each person, in some capacity, has a connection to the process in which a victim and perpetrator may go through during a criminal domestic violence incident. Some of the speakers included Seventh Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette, Police Academy instructor Brian Bennet, Chief Judge for the City of Columbia Dana Turner and the executive director of Safe Harbor, Becky Callaham.
SCCADVASA’s Executive Director, Sara Barber, gave her testimony and fielded questions from the committee as well. “Domestic violence is a complex issue without a single easy solution.” Sara stated to the committee. Offender accountability, closing funding gaps and increased enforcement of current gun restrictions were a few of Sara’s proposed solutions. You can read Sara’s entire testimony here:
The panel’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7
You can view the entire hearing on the SC Legislative website. The video is filed under “Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:30 am, Criminal Domestic Violence Reform Committee”