Federal boost for S.C. domestic violence programs

Belongings packed full in suitcases and plastic bags are all that a family staying at My Sister’s House brought with them as they came to the women’s shelter. The shelter for abused women in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties will get $96,258 of the state’s $1.5 million in federal funding this year.

South Carolina’s effort to deal with domestic violence got its annual boost from the federal government.

South Carolina got a little over $1.5 million through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

It’s about the same amount of money the state has been getting from the federal government for several years, according to Jessica Hanak-Coulter, deputy director of human services for the S.C. Department of Social Services.

DSS got about $1.4 million and will distribute the money to 13 shelters for abused women around the state. The annual grant provides the bulk of money to operate the shelters, as well as other support programs, Hanak-Coulter said.

My Sister’s House, a shelter for abused women in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties, got $96,258.

The S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault got $241,000, according to Executive Director Sara Barber.

The coalition represents 23 domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy organizations in South Carolina and uses the grant money for training and technical assistance, she said.

The Palmetto state has led the nation for several years in the number of women killed in domestic disputes. The Post Courier outlined possible solutions in its Pulitzer-Prize winning “Till Death Do Us Part” series. State lawmakers have said reversing the trend is a priority.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.