COLUMBIA (AP) — Gov. Nikki Haley says a bill she signed increasing penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders and banning batterers from having guns is just the beginning to change a culture that quietly ignored abuse.
Haley signed the bill Thursday that punishes abusers based on the severity of the attack, the number of prior offenses and other factors, like whether the victim was strangled, is pregnant or children saw the abuse.
The law also provides a lifetime gun ban for the worst abusers and has an automatic three- or 10-year ban in other cases.
Haley says the law will help her domestic violence task force gather information. She says she wants to stop how the state ignores abuse.
South Carolina often ranks at the top in the number of domestic violence deaths.