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Featured Image for South Carolina Ranks #5 in Rate of Women Murdered by Men
According to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2015 Homicide Data, South Carolina ranked fifth in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, with a rate of 1.83 per 100,000. This annual study is released in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is recognized in October.

This is the sixth year in a row that South Carolina has ranked in the top five states for women murdered by men and the rate has increased since last year's report of 1.73 per 100,000.
“South Carolina’s continued presence at, or near, the top of the list of the most dangerous states for women demonstrates how much work as a state we still have to do,” says Sara Barber, executive director of the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

“We have changed laws but there are still struggles with consistently implementing them to increase victim safety. A long term change in our horrifying record will also need an increased emphasis on prevention education around healthy relationships. This should begin in schools and extend across all community settings, to stop this violence before it begins.”
The study uses 2015 data, the most recent year for which information is available. The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

The study found that nationwide, 93 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew and that the most common weapon used was a gun.

The Violence Policy Center has published When Men Murder Women annually for 20 years. During that period, nationwide the rate of women murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents has dropped 29 percent — from 1.57 per 100,000 in 1996 to 1.12 per 100,000 in 2015.

Below is the complete list of the states with the 10 highest rates of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2015:

Rank   State                           Homicide Rate, Females Murdered by Males
1          Alaska                         2.86 per 100,000
2          Nevada                       2.29 per 100,000
3          Louisiana                    2.22 per 100,000
4          Tennessee                  2.10 per 100,000
5          South Carolina           1.83 per 100,000
6          Arkansas                    1.78 per 100,000
7          Kansas                       1.65 per 100,000
8          Kentucky                    1.60 per 100,000
9          Texas                         1.54 per 100,000
10 (tie) New Mexico               1.52 per 100,000
10 (tie) Missouri                     1.52 per 100,000

For each of these states, the study offers a detailed summary including: the number of victims by age group and race; the most common weapons used; the victim to offender relationships; and the circumstances of the homicides.

Nationwide, 1,686 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2015, at a rate of 1.12 per 100,000. Of the 1,686 female homicide victims, 1,110 were white, 476 were black, 48 were Asian or Pacific Islander, 28 were American Indian or Alaskan Native, and in 24 cases the race of the victim was not identified.

Nine out of 10 victims knew their offenders.  Of the victims who knew their offenders, 64 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers. Fourteen times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers.

Black women are disproportionately impacted by lethal domestic violence. In 2015, black females were murdered by men at a rate of 2.43 per 100,000, more than twice the rate of 0.96 per 100,000 for white women murdered by men.
Firearms — especially handguns — were the weapons most commonly used by males to murder females in 2015.

Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 55 percent of female victims were shot and killed with a gun. Of the homicides committed with guns, 69 percent were killed with handguns.

The overwhelming majority of these homicides were not related to any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery. Nationwide, for homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 84 percent of the homicides were not related to the commission of another felony. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument between the victim and the offender.

The study calculates the rate of women murdered by men by dividing the total number of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents by the total female population and multiplying the result by 100,000. This is the standard and accepted method of comparing fatal levels of gun violence.

The study urges state legislators to adopt laws that enhance enforcement of federal legislation and ensure that guns are surrendered by or removed from the presence of abusers.

View Full Report

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Featured Image for 287g Agreements Unsafe for Our Communities
SCCADVASA is a statewide coalition of organizations providing intervention services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault across the state. Our hope is for community in which prevention work is our focus—a commitment to prevent sexual and domestic violence from occurring in the first place—where we can center our work on the building of healthy relationship practices rather than the aftermath of violence. We believe that everyone has the right to live in a community where respect and trust form the core of relationships and fear has no place to thrive. It is from these core values, as victim advocates, that SCCADVASA opposes the implementation of 287(g) agreements.

287(g) agreements erode public trust. A number of studies conducted in areas where 287(g) are already in place show that officers and police chiefs alike experienced greater barriers to using community policing techniques.

In Davidson County, Tennessee, nearly two years after the implementation of their 287(g) program, researchers found that although Black residents were more likely to know the victim of a crime (49% of Blacks, 35% of Latinos), respondents of both races cited nearly the same level of discomfort (~40%) with law enforcement.  The cause and the result of that discomfort, however, were clear between the two groups. Latinos were far less likely to report a crime to the police. “42% [of Latinos] said that they knew of a crime that had not been reported to the police,” compared to just 4% of Black respondents, and, “when asked whether they would report a crime in the future, more than half (54%) of the respondents in the Latino community said they would choose not to call the police,” compared to 27% of Blacks.  Half of all Hispanic respondents cited “being ‘afraid,’” and one-third specifically mentioned “immigration issues” as a major reason they distrusted the police; not a single Black respondent cited either of these issues as reasons they might not call upon law enforcement for protection.  It is not unreasonable to draw a tie between these fears and the fact that 85% of Latinos knew “someone who had been deported after being arrested, compared to only 8% of Blacks.”

Immigrant communities already navigate reporting barriers, such as lack of shared language and differing views on gender roles. When compounded by fears of racial profiling and immigration scrutiny, even victims and witnesses with legal status are less likely to come forward.  Therefore, the fear that part of the community experiences—the possibility of being asked about immigration status—decreases victim reports, subjecting the larger community to greater risk of violent crimes.  
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the nation’s premier law enforcement association, has stated that “local police agencies depend on the cooperation of immigrants, legal and illegal, in solving all sorts of crimes and in the maintenance of public order. Without assurances that they will not be subject to an immigration investigation and possible deportation, many immigrants with critical information would not come forward, even when heinous crimes are committed against them or their families.”
287(g) agreements burden local law enforcement agencies without strengthening community safety. In Maricopa County, Arizona, the East Valley Tribune reported that demands for the Sheriff’s Department to respond to immigration concerns resulted in an inability to respond to life or death crisis calls; “two-thirds of patrol cars arrived late to the most serious calls for police assistance."  A delay of this magnitude puts all crime victims at higher risk of significant harm and even death.

Victims of sexual assault and domestic violence are at particular risk of repeated victimization in areas where 287(g) agreements are in place.  Abusers often use the threat of deportation—whether legitimate or exaggerated—to discourage their victim from reporting the crime committed against them. Abusers use the perception that victims’ rights are secondary to immigration enforcement as a coercive tool to keep their victims submissive.

287(g) agreements create redundancy that undercut the campaign against violent crime. Since 2013, all local jurisdictions in South Carolina have been sharing biometric data of detained criminals with the FBI and DHS. When fingerprint checks demonstrate that an individual who has been arrested is illegally present in the United States, ICE is already enabled to detain and remove that individual.  However, without the public trust that stimulates a culture of reporting and cooperating with law enforcement, criminals are less likely to be arrested, and are more likely to continue perpetrating violence against our community members.
Examples like Maricopa County and Los Angeles County demonstrate that 287(g) agreements take valuable resources away from crime victims at the local level, and allow the federal government to escape their rightful responsibility to enforce immigration law. Studies of communities closer to home—including Davidson County, Tennessee and Gaston County, North Carolina—show that a single law enforcement entity cannot simultaneously ask for cooperation and threaten deportation. The implementation of a 287(g) agreement is likely to result in deportation of illegally present individuals; it’s true, but the vast majority of these individuals will be detained following traffic violations and misdemeanors.  Meanwhile, true violent criminals will continue to intimidate their victims into silence, and our community will become no safer. 287(g) agreements undermine our values of public trust and public safety.

SCCADVASA stands in support of community policing efforts that lead to victim trust and public safety. Crime victims’ confidence that coming forward will lead to safety should be prioritized above ineffective lip service to border enforcement. We strongly condemn the implementation of new 287(g) agreements, while living in hope of successful, victim-centered collaboration with law enforcement officers in Charleston, Horry, Lexington, and York Counties.
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Featured Image for Self-Care and Cultural Safety in Victim Services

September's webinar is Self-Care and Cultural Safety in Victim Services. Our webinars are FREE and open to the public. We also provide 1 OVSEC approved credit hour for your continued learning credits. Practicing and encouraging radical self-care in the work place is a key aspect of pursuing cultural safety and trauma-informed care.

Participants will first explore the goal of cultural safety in victim service provision using the framework of cultural humility. Cultural safety is “an environment that is spiritually, socially and emotionally safe, as well as physically safe for people; where there is no assault challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of learning together” (Williams, 1999). Participants will learn to use the practice of cultural humility, viewing themselves as partners in the helping relationship rather than the expert; one outcome of this practice is that survivors are empowered to build collaborative safety and/or treatment plans.

The practice of cultural humility is rooted in critical self-reflection and self-care. Therefore, participants will explore strategies for practicing radical—rather than reactive—self-care in their relationships with victims, with coworkers, and with themselves. Some tactics will include mindfulness exercises, tactile stress management tools, and reflective listening. The webinar ends with a period of self-reflection and personal goal-setting, allowing participants to leave with actionable strategies in practice.

Register Here

If you have not previously registered for our training registration system, Coalition Manager, you can do that here.

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