South Carolina ranks No. 1 in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men. One-half of those murdered had asked for help from police or the criminal justice system..

Risk factors for domestic violence include: verbal abuse, criticism, blaming, humiliating, intimidating, threatening, isolating from family and friends, controlling money and transportation, jealousy, constant monitoring of phone calls and texts, hitting, shoving, choking and forcing sex. He may throw things, break things or abuse family pets. Some common characteristics of an abuser include: unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse and a record of prior violence and gun ownership.

The No. 1 demographic factor is chronic unemployment. Domestic violence always gets worse. It always escalates. Prevention of partner murder has been successful in Amesbury, Mass., where they created a High Risk Team. The key to the prevention of partner murder, is to predict when it might happen. Changes which may indicate trouble include when the victim attempts to leave the relationship, gets a restraining order, gets a job or gets pregnant.

The keys to the success of the High Risk Team are working together, sharing information among the team, but otherwise, maintaining strict confidentiality. Team members include the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, the police, judges, the district attorney, parole and probation officers, nurses and hospital representatives. GPS for monitoring the “exclusion zone” is legal in 33 states.

The team can impose preventive retention in jail or a psychiatric hospital, which allows the judge to analyze the evidence, sentence the abuser and impose visitation restrictions. The team can locate transitional housing, keep it secret, erase profiles on social media, change daily routines and routes and, most importantly, rehearse emergency responses.

South Carolina can save lives by receiving training from the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, which has trained more than 5,000 workers in 30 states. We cannot accept more than three times as many deaths from partner murder than from war over the past decade. Partner murder can be prevented.

Mary Miller