MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina ranks 6th in the nation for the number of domestic violence homicides each year. Despite that, Horry County has few resources for domestic violence victims.
Leaders of the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties hope to raise more than $1 million to build a domestic violence shelter in Horry County.
The closest domestic violence shelter is in Georgetown County. Executive director of the Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach, Tracy Bowie says the distance could prevent domestic violence victims in Horry County from getting out of a dangerous relationship.
“A lot of times they have no where to go, and they’ll often times stay in those relationships because of that,” Bowie said.
In 2019, the Myrtle Beach Police Department responded to more than 1,000 calls for domestic violence. This year, they’ve responded to more than 20 domestic violence calls. Domestic violence officer, Michele Paitsel says Horry County is in desperate need of a shelter close by.
“When you have a domestic violence victim here, especially with the children that are involved, a lot of times the parents don’t want to take the children out of school and/or the victim, so therefore they decide to stay here or in the household, because they do not want to take the children out of school and relocate them to a different area,” Officer Paitsel said.
“I think having a place where they can go and stay will really help to remove one more barrier from them being able to leave that situation,” Bowie said.
Leaders of the Family Justice Center have not yet selected a location for the Horry County domestic violence shelter.
To make a donation to the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties, click here.