Columbia, SC (WJBF) – Tuesday, Governor Nikki Haley signed into law H.4666, a bill that establishes a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee in each of the state’s 16 Solicitor Circuits.
Legislation formalizing a fatality review process for domestic violence was recommendation 19 of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force’s report from August 2015. South Carolina was just one of nine states that did not have a domestic fatality review team.
Under the new law, Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committees will identify and review deaths linked to domestic violence and make recommendations to the State Domestic Violence Advisory, which was created by the 2015 Domestic Violence Reform Bill. Committees will be made up of local domestic violence advocates, law enforcement professionals, medical professionals, and others with expertise in investigating domestic violence cases.
“I want to thank everybody who was a part of this,” said Governor Haley. “This is the beginning of what is going to be South Carolina reforming herself to say that survivors matter, victims matter, and that domestic abuse is part of the past, and not part of the future of South Carolina.”
Members of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force, Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin, Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope celebrated today’s bill signing with the governor during a ceremony at the Statehouse.
“I am greatly encouraged by the passage of the domestic violence fatality review bill in South Carolina,” said Dr. Neil Websdale, Director of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative. “Setting up a network of review teams will help create and/or enhance coordinated community responses to domestic violence, thus building better protections for victims and encouraging greater offender accountability.”
“I want to commend everybody standing here today and everyone up in the chambers who are responsible for this bill,” said Chairman Martin. “This is but another step in the process, and the governor’s tremendous leadership and the task force, in providing this information back to us is one of the key things that we needed to do in order to make a definitive determination as to why some of these fatalities occur.”