COLUMBIA – Gov. Nikki Haley was joined today by Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin, Representative Shannon Erickson, and Sara Barber, Executive Director of the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, for a bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 3, the Domestic Violence Bill.
“It is a fantastic day in South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “A huge statement is being made today, and that statement is that South Carolina is no longer thinking about the convenience of the abuser – we are thinking about strengthening the survivor. … What this bill says is that South Carolina understands that we have a problem, but it also means that Team South Carolina is saying ‘we’re not going to allow this anymore.’”
Video of the full event can be found at https://goo.gl/qpQXfP
S.3, the Domestic Violence Bill makes the following changes to State law:
• Reclassifies domestic violence crimes according to the severity of the offense, rather than the number of offenses, by using a series of aggravating factors that allow prosecutors to elevate an offense and increase the penalty.
• Enhances penalties for domestic violence crimes, by tripling the penalty for the lowest offense from 30 days to 90 days and by doubling the penalty for the highest offense from 10 years to 20 years.
• Provides prosecutors additional tools, such as choosing whether to try the lowest offense case in Magistrates Court or General Sessions Court depending on the serious nature of the offense and the resources required.
• Generally mirrors the federal law banning domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms by creating a state ban for certain domestic violence offenses.
• Improves processes for strengthening Restraining Orders and Orders of Protection to allow victims greater flexibility in choosing a safety plan that is best for them.