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S.C. Crime Victims Demand Increased State Funding and Support

Victims' advocacy rally support.

S.C. Crime Victims Demand Increased State Funding and Support

A Call to Action

In a bid to breach the barriers to justice they face, victims of violent crime and their families congregated on the State House steps in Columbia, South Carolina. These victims held a rally urging lawmakers to support their struggle for justice. Their cries for help were amplified by advocacy groups through a “Victims Matter” rally held on Thursday, March 22, 2024.

Victims’ Families share their Story

Lillie and Carl Smalls, who attended the rally for the second time, shared their story of loss and resilience. Carl Smalls Jr, their son, was a victim of a violent crime, shot and killed by Jeriod Price, a convicted killer, in 2002. Shockingly, Smalls Jr’s killer was released 16 years early in March 2023, under a now reversed order. The Smalls family emphasised the rampant flaws and lapses in the justice system and highlighted the need for greater support for other families facing similar challenges.

Revelations from S.C Victim Assistance Network

Sarah Ford, the legal director of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network, revealed the sharp decline in funding for victim services. She pointed out the dramatic drop from fifty million in funding two years ago to twelve million this year. Ford stressed that the victims and survivors are the ones who suffer the consequences of this decrease in funding.

Push for More Funding

Identifying these shortfalls, Ford called upon the legislators to allocate more state resources to victim services. Her continuous advocacy underlines the urgent need to address this issue, and her plea for greater support reverberates throughout the state, echoing the cries of victims and their families in their pursuit for justice.

Advocacy Groups Rally Together

Standing side by side, the victims and their families found in the advocacy groups the support they needed to amplify their calls for justice. Not only did these groups help in orchestrating the “Victims Matter” rally, but they also provided a platform for the victims and their families to share their stories, gain support, and push for systemic changes.

The Stimulus for Change

This rally reiterates the urgent need to revisit and amend the state’s current system for handling crime victims. As victims continue to fall through the cracks, there grows a strong impetus for the state to take better care of those who have experienced violence, trauma, and loss. With the rallying cry for change reaching the steps of the statehouse, lawmakers are being sedulously reminded of their duties towards their constituents.


S.C. Crime Victims Demand Increased State Funding and Support

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

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