Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Domestic violence is an increasing problem in our state. New numbers rank South Carolina second in the number of men killing women.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says the statistics on those we have lost serve as as reminder that there more work to be done.
Each year his office remembers those who lost their lives to domestic violence during its Silent Witness Program. This year's event reflected on 52 men and women killed, the most he says they have seen.
"We have to continually remind ourselves of how important it is that we come together to prevent this crime, to catch this crime and to prosecute this crime," said Wilson.
His office's S.T.O.P. (Services Training Officers and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Program prosecutes these cases and trains law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and victim advocates across the state about domestic violence.
"You can arrest all the people out there that are committing these crimes but if you don't have prosecutors to move the cases, and judges to hear them, then they get re-released and go back into the communities and the problem's not really fixed," he said.
That is why his office also has a pro bono program that allows trained attorneys to volunteer and handle some of these cases.
Click Here To Learn More About the AG's Pro Bono Program
They also help communities learn how to run centralized criminal domestic violence courts that can help simplify the process and get people the help they may need.
"Judges that understand patterns, judges that understand where the resources are, and are not, they can basically go into each case and perform triage on that case and identify issues and get the batterer where the batterer needs to go, get the victim where the victim needs to go and can usher along those cases a little bit faster," said Wilson.
Click Here to Find Out How to Get Free Domestic Violence Posters for Your Business or Organization
Still Wilson says a big key is for victims, family members, neighbors and friends to report domestic violence, even if there's no arrest, or the incident seems small.
"You need to report it, you need to have a paper trail, these things are inevitably patterns of conduct that only gets worse," said Wilson.
If you or someone you know needs help you can contact 1-800-260-9293
SCCADVASA, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault can also link you to groups that can help in your community. Click Here to Visit them Online
You can also contact these free, confidential national hotlines: National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)