Horry County seeing fewer reported domestic violence cases as plans for new shelter move forward

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — There were 81 reported domestic violence cases in Horry County during September, a number that’s down from 124 in April, according to the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said it is still too early to say the drop in cases is part of a downward trend, but he said he is celebrating the dip nonetheless.

“I am cautiously optimistic about the numbers going down, and I’m very optimistic about finally getting a Family Justice Center in Horry County,” Richardson said.

The Family Justice Center of Georgetown and Horry Counties is a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Georgetown. A second, bigger shelter is coming to Horry County.

The land where the shelter will be located has been donated since the summer. Three weeks ago, it was officially deeded over to the Family Justice Center, according to Kim Parsons, the organization’s executive director. The property donation is in addition to $1.5 million in state funding dedicated to building the shelter.

“We’ve overcome the first two big hurdles, I think, in getting our shelter,” Parsons said. “At least in the stages of having it ready to go and the property ready to go.”

The new shelter will be in Conway along Highway 501 near Coastal Carolina University, Parsons said. An architect is designing a 20-bed facility, double the size of the Georgetown shelter, that will also have room for pets.

The shelter will be Horry County’s first since 2013.

“I think this location is going to be key as well, because it’s going to be a bit more centrally located,” Parsons said. “I can’t say enough of how much this is going to fill that gap for victims of domestic violence.”

Parsons said the $1.5 million from the South Carolina General Assembly will cover the “bricks and mortar” of the new facility, adding that keeping it up and running will require consistent funding.

“We’re hoping that we’re going to get support from all the local municipalities and county governments and that type of thing to help us have a line item in their budgets so that we can make sure that we are fully staffed and that we have everything,” Parsons said.

The Family Justice Center receives about $300,000 in yearly grant funding for operations and expenses, Parsons said. With a second a shelter, the organization would need additional staff members and an additional $250,000 a year. She said securing funds is part of the way to build trust in the community.

“It’s not fair to the community to be able to build something and then not have the funding sources to keep it up and running,” Parsons said.

Parsons estimated the shelter will be completed within the next two years.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, or know someone who is, and need help, the Family Justice Center phone number is 844-208-0161. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-7997233.

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