Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2016

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

First Reader

Marjorie J. Spruill

Second Reader

Brooke Mosteller


South Carolina has come into the national spotlight over the past 10 years over it’s consistent issue with domestic violence. With domestic homicide rates consistently over the national average, journalists and researchers have examined everything from the causes of domestic violence, it’s impetus within a person and its cultural influences, to the way that law enforcement and the judicial system handle cases presented to them. South Carolina’s patriarchal background and traditional perspective on gender relations certainly play a role in the high rates of domestic violence in the state, and other cultural factors that could affect the prevalence of abuse. Socio-economic status, unemployment, and a background of violence are only a few of the indicators that point towards potential violent behavior. Up until 2015, South Carolina law was hazy on domestic violence, but in June 2015, the Domestic Violence Reform Act was signed into law, marking a milestone in progress towards dealing with domestic abuse in the state. Clearer definitions of abuse, stricter punishments and a focus on victim protection and community security were all critical to the Domestic Violence Reform Act. These particular stipulations make dealing with domestic violence cases simpler for court systems, especially those with established Criminal Domestic Violence Courts, designed to streamline the judicial process and aid in the prosecution of abusers and protection of victims. South Carolina citizens are taking steps to address the root of the problem, with nonprofit organizations that offer help to victims and survivors. These organizations have made a difference in the lives of thousands of women through counseling services, career advice, and childcare as they leave abusive situations and establish themselves independent of their abuser. Educational programs in school have begun teaching students how to recognize domestic violence as well as when and how to report it. These programs are reaching potential victims 5 before they are trapped in unhealthy relationships. South Carolina’s struggle will continue as it addresses violence at every level but there is hope on the horizon as law makers and volunteers make the safety and security of their fellow citizens and neighbors a priority

First Page


Last Page



© 2016, Riley Anne Bearden