Battered women often underestimate the severity of the mistreatment they suffer and the likelihood their abusive partners eventually will kill them, a national authority told law-enforcement officers and victim advocates across South Carolina on Friday.
In the 1980s, Dr. Jacquelyn C. Campbell of Johns Hopkins University developed a danger assessment to help victims understand the threats they face. She has spent the decades since refining the tool and teaching officers and advocates how to use it.
“We’re trying to stop the next domestic homicide,” said 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, who worked with Hopeful Horizons to arrange Friday’s training. “Dr. Campbell’s assessment is such a valuable tool because it cuts through the noise to make the risks clear to all involved – particularly law enforcement officers and the victims themselves.”
Hopeful Horizons CEO Kristin Dubrowski agreed.
“Law enforcement and victim advocates play a critical role in helping to break the cycle of domestic violence,” Dubrowski said. “Statistics show that domestic violence-related homicides are greatly reduced when victims are connected with resources. It is an honor to be able to bring Dr. Campbell to the Lowcountry to implement her evidence-based Danger Assessment locally – it will literally save lives.”
Nationally, about half of all female homicide victims are killed by a husband, boyfriend or former intimate partner, according to Campbell. Such inter-partner violence is particularly acute in the Palmetto State. Since 2001, South Carolina has routinely ranked among the worst in the country for the rate of women killed by men. Three times during that span, the state was first by that dubious measure.
“After doing the danger assessment, women say they’re more likely to seek help from police and/or shelter services,” Campbell told nearly 100 training participants from organizations around the state.
Campbell’s training was live-streamed by the Solicitor’s Office to a statewide audience. The broadcast was originally to take place before both online participants and invited guests at the Solicitor’s Office headquarters. Travel concerns as a result of COVID-19 prompted Campbell to instead conduct the session remotely from her home in the Baltimore area.
Attorneys, service providers and victim advocates from several agencies were among the participants. Representatives from the Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton County sheriff’s departments; Beaufort, Hardeeville and Bluffton police departments; and the University of South Carolina Beaufort police also attended.
Dr. Jacquelyn C. Campbell is a national leader in research and advocacy in the field of domestic and intimate partner violence. Her studies paved the way for a growing body of interdisciplinary investigations by researchers in the nursing, medicine and public-health fields. Her expertise is frequently sought by national and international policy makers. For more on her work, go to DangerAssessment.Org.
Hopeful Horizons is a children’s advocacy, domestic violence and rape crisis center. It works to create safer communities by changing the culture of violence and offering a path to healing. The organization provides safety, hope and healing to survivors through evidence-based practices, outreach, prevention and education. Hopeful Horizons serves Beaufort, Allendale, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. For more information on the mission and vision of Hopeful Horizons, go to www.hopefulhorizons.org.
The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecutes all cases in General Sessions Court in Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. It includes a Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable people. In addition, the Solicitor’s Office instituted the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center, where partners such as Hopeful Horizons, Lowcountry Legal Volunteers, CAPA of Beaufort, Lowcountry Alliance for Healthy Youth and Bikers Against Child Abuse provide victim services under a single roof. The center recently became South Carolina’s first accredited Family Justice Center. For more information, go to https://scsolicitor14.org/victim-services-center/.