Governor Nikki Haley on Tuesday signed new legislation into law that will offer local law enforcement more tools to investigate domestic violence deaths to examine where current laws and resources fell short in stopping the tragedy.
Lawmakers created a statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee last year, but this legislation will create 16 more — one for each judicial circuit in South Carolina. Each committee will track cases of domestic violence on the local level and seek to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.
“How did we go from start to end? And how was there a death?” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a press conference shortly before signing the law. “What could we have done different?”
Under the new law, each of the new committees will identify and review deaths linked to domestic violence and make recommendations to the statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committe. Each local panel will be made up of local domestic violence advocates, law enforcement professionals, medical professionals, and others with expertise in investigating domestic violence cases.
“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,” Haley said.
Members of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force, Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens, and Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, R-York, were also with the governor at the bill singing Tuesday.