[image-1]South Carolina no longer ranks as the deadliest state in the nation for women murdered by men, but the rate of female homicide victims still outpaces the national average.

Moving to the fifth spot nationwide, according to a report from the Violence Policy Center, the number of women murdered by men in South Carolina dropped from 2.3 per 100,000 women in 2013 to 1.7 in 2014. Analyzing the most recent data from the FBI, Alaska was found to have the highest homicide rate for women in the United States, totaling 3.2 murders per 100,000 females.

In 2014, 43 women were killed by men in the state of South Carolina, 93 percent of which died at the hands of someone they knew. In most cases the victims were the wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. The average age of women murdered by men in South Carolina was 44.

Nationwide, the rate of female homicides committed by men in one-on-one attacks has dropped 31 percent between 1996 and 2014, the most recent year in which comprehensive data is available. In 2015, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed the state’s Domestic Violence Reform Act into law following increased attention brought to the issue of violence against women from Post and Courier’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series “Till Death Do Us Part.” The new law established a mandatory lifetime ban on possessing a firearm for those convicted of the highest felony offense. For cases in which the murder weapon could be determined, the Violence Policy Center’s most recent report found that 63 percent of female victims were shot and killed by firearms.

“Women are almost always killed by someone they know, and the majority are victims of domestic homicide. Local, state, and national policymakers must make preventing domestic violence a priority,” argued Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand in a statement. “Guns in the hands of abusers can escalate domestic violence to homicide in the blink of an eye. Removing guns from a domestic violence situation is crucial.”

Across the country, more than 1,600 women were murdered by men in 2014. Of the 10 states with the highest rate of women killed by men, six are in the South as defined by the U.S. Census regional map. An examination of emergency room visits resulting from attacks by a spouse or intimate partner conducted by researchers at West Virginia University discovered that patients were more likely to live in low-income communities and in the Southern United States.

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