Definitions of Domestic Violence - South Carolina

Date:

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Ann. Code § 20-4-20

The term 'abuse' includes any of the following:

  • Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of physical harm
  • Sexual criminal offenses, as otherwise defined by statute, committed against a family or household member by a family or household member

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-25-20

A person commits the offense of domestic violence in the third degree if the person:

  • Causes physical harm or injury to a household member
  • Attempts to cause physical harm or injury to a household member with apparent present ability that reasonably creates the fear of imminent peril

A person commits the offense of domestic violence in the second degree if, in addition to the elements above, the person:

  • Causes moderate bodily injury to a household member or the act is accomplished by means likely to result in moderate bodily injury to the person's own household member
  • Violates a protection order
  • Has one prior conviction for domestic violence in the past 10 years from the current offense
  • The offense is committed:
    • In the presence of or while being perceived by a minor
    • Against a person known, or who reasonably should have been known, by the offender to be pregnant
    • During the commission of a robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or theft
    • By impeding the victim's breathing or air flow
    • Using physical force or the threatened use of force against another to block that person's access to any cell phone, telephone, or electronic communication device with the purpose of preventing, obstructing, or interfering with either of the following:
      • The report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency
      • A request for an ambulance or emergency medical assistance to any law enforcement agency or emergency medical provider

A person commits the offense of domestic violence in the first degree if, in addition to the elements listed above, the person:

  • Causes great bodily injury to his or her household member or the act is accomplished by means likely to result in great bodily injury
  • Has two or more prior convictions of domestic violence within 10 years of the current offense
  • Uses a firearm in any manner while committing the offense

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 16-25-10; 20-4-20

In civil and criminal law: The term 'household member' includes any of the following:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • Persons who have a child in common
  • A male and female who are cohabiting or formerly have cohabited