Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- J. L. Charley, a criminal domestic violence investigator with the Columbia Police Department, works with victims from start to finish.
"The victims need to feel that they're supported," said Charley. "They need to know that we are standing there with them and for them and that we'll give them and offer them the best assistance possible."
He says that support can mean a lot when moving through the court system.
Now, State Representative Bakari Sellers says it is time to look at what lawmakers can do to address the problem as well.
"When you look at our high incidents of domestic violence, you see that something has to be done," said Sellers.
He plans to pre-file a bill in December that would allow judges the ability to hand down stiffer punishments, especially to first time offenders.
"We're actually giving magistrate judges the opportunity to set bonds at their own discretion eliminating the $5,000 cap, which means most people get out of jail for $500 if not less," he said.
Sellers says the bill would also allow judges to order more time in jail, with those convicted having to wait two more years to expunge their records, and first time offenders facing gun penalties. He says it would also make domestic violence counseling, including anger management, mandatory.
"This is an issue about literally saving lives in South Carolina and making sure that women and men feel safe at home," said Sellers. He plans to file his bill in December ahead of the general assembly's return in January.
For Charley, the best effort from everyone is the only way to tackle the problem of domestic violence in South Carolina.
"It's going to take more than the individual agency we have to work and put our resources together," he said.