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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Press Notice -“Home Front”: 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette launches a multi-disciplinary task force to take on domestic violence

Spartanburg initiative is only the fourth program in the nation to implement innovative strategy, first to attempt it countywide.

Contact Person: Lance Crick (864) 282-2100

 

SPARTANBURG, South Carolina ---- In a courtroom filled with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as representatives from SAFE Homes and State Probation, 7TH Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette, with the support and partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, officially launched the state’s newest and, to date, its only focused deterrence-based effort to combat domestic violence, “Home Front”.

 

Modelled after a program started in High Point, NC, members of the Home Front task force began earlier this fall, meeting with representatives from every police department in Spartanburg county as well as the Sheriff’s Office.  The Spartanburg County State Probation office and victim’s advocate stalwart, SAFE Homes, also serve as critical partners in this effort.

 

Under the guidance of Solicitor Barnette and High Point (NC) Chief Marty Sumner, Home Front has quickly gone from concept to reality.  High Point’s model and research suggests that early intervention is key in stopping the cycle of violence.

 

The Home Front strategy identifies and focuses on offenders at the earliest stages of offending, before their violent conduct is entrenched and escalating.

 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, domestic violence is a community crime problem that costs the United States over $5.8 billion every year. It is a major drain on law enforcement resources as domestic violence generates a high volume of calls and repeated calls to the same location. Domestic violence homicides make up 40–50 percent of all murders of women in the United States. Women who have experienced a history of domestic violence report more health problems than other women and they have a greater risk for substance abuse, unemployment, alcoholism, and suicide attempts.

 

Research shows that the repeat domestic violence offender tends to have a significant criminal history that includes a wide range of both domestic violence and non-domestic violence offenses. Most of these offenders are readily identified as they are known to the criminal justice system. The Home Front initiative exposes the repeat domestic violence offender to sanctions because of his pattern of criminal behavior.

 

According to the 2015 Violence Policy Center When Men Murder Women report, South Carolina led the nation in rates of women murdered by men. Sixty-six percent (66%) of the victims were killed with a firearm and ninety-six percent (96%) of women murdered were killed by someone they knew.

 

In Spartanburg County during the 2015 calendar year, SAFE Homes serviced 6726 victims of domestic violence. In the same time frame, the Spartanburg Police Department charged 907 domestic violence cases and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office charged 1068 domestic violence cases. There were fourteen (14) domestic related deaths in Spartanburg County in 2015.

 

Solicitor Barnette has had enough.  “Domestic violence is violence, period.  It continues to plague our community--so costly and harmful to families and children, persisting year after year.  It is time for these offenders to get our best shot—our best efforts.  That is Home Front.”

 

Acting United States Attorney Beth Drake agrees.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms welcome the opportunity to partner with Solicitor Barnette and state law enforcement, and to use federal gun laws to pull violent offenders who are abusing their families and loved ones out of the community.  The goal is simple – stop the abuse, or swift and sure, the full force of a coordinated law enforcement effort will come to bear to stop you from abusing.  Home Front takes the burden of addressing abusers from the victims and shifts it to us – a very engaged group of local, state, and federal law enforcement.”

 

The Home Front task force began a thorough, eight-step implementation process in the fall.  The steps included training officers, synchronizing the coding of calls among the law enforcement agencies to harmonize communication--to create a back stop of sorts so that no domestic calls or offenders slip through the cracks among the sixteen municipal law enforcement entities in Spartanburg County.  Very early in the implementation process, the task force began creating a comprehensive list of domestic violence offenders from the previous twelve months of arrests in Spartanburg County for domestic-related incidents.  Offenders were categorized from most dangerous (Class A), repeat offender (Class B), first time DV arrest (Class C), and any non-arrest domestic violence interface with law enforcement (Class D).

 

For the most serious or repeat offenders, pending cases are fast-tracked to ATF and the US Attorney’s Office for immediate federal prosecution or prioritized for expedited state prosecution.  This process includes creating an enhanced system of tracking for offenders who are notified at any level or category.  Custom notification letters, hand-delivered by law enforcement to offenders within 48 hours of the initial law enforcement contact, serve to alert offenders that they are on the Home Front radar going forward as well as detailing presumptive sentences for future acts of violence or prohibited behavior.

 

Solicitor Barnette is optimistic about the collaboration and is confident the focus and dedication of this task force will not waiver.  “Securing our communities and ensuring that victims and children can feel safe in their own homes—breaking this horrific cycle of violence, that is our charge.”

 

Home Front Task Force:

City of Spartanburg Police Department

City of Campobello

City of Pacolet Police Department

City of Chesnee Police Department

City of Cowpens Police Department

City of Duncan Police Department

City of Greer Police Department

City of Inman Police Department

City of Landrum Police Department

City of Lyman Police Department

City of Wellford Police Department

City of Woodruff Police Department

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Police Department

Victim Advocates

Victim Services Providers

Behavioral Health

SC Dept. of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services

U. S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office

SAFE Homes

Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, & Union

 

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Updated December 7, 2016