CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW)-Horry County’s solicitor’s office got its new budget and it includes money for more prosecutors to handle domestic violence cases. Last year Governor Haley pushed for stricter punishment against domestic violence. Since last year, there’s a harsher sentence for domestic violence, even for first time offenders. Solicitor Jimmy Richardson told News13 he wants this money to be used to better prosecute cases and to help break the cycle of domestic violence.
South Carolina is ranked worst in the nation for deadly violence against women. Fifteenth circuit solicitor Jimmy Richardson says domestic violence impacts so many people because it’s a situation most people will not admit.
“This is the ugly little secret. You wouldn’t want to tell this to your most intimate friends. That your husband or your boyfriend has done this.”
Richardson said most women are embarrassed and feel they are in a failed relationship. They feel they can’t get out for various stability reasons so he says the cycle never stops.
“Its really damaging but no one ever talks about is these kids that are four and five years old, six years old and sees Daddy beat up mama over and over and over again, to those it is life changing. Not only are they likely to be abusers themselves as they grow up but think about the psychological effect.”
Richardson wants to break the cycle and for first time offenders, he says counseling could be the answer to change.
“You can have them go through an intensive course with the 90 days or the three years or whatever it is hanging over their head to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Besides counseling, the funding will also train police officers to better document domestic cases. Richardson said that will help out prosecutors during trial.
“If that means a follow up two days later because if you get hit the bruise don’t show up that night, you have to come back as a follow up”
Richardson says he’s grateful for the extra money and that now is the time to change the statistics for South Carolina.
“We do the very best we can with the new positions because it would be a failure on a failure to look back at this in a year or two years and be at the same level.”
Richardson plans to hire three new prosecutors this year and hopes to hire even more next year.