South Carolina Legal Information and Resources


Legal Information:

South Carolina defines domestic violence as between a man and a woman who are married or cohabiting, formerly married or cohabiting, or who have a child together. So, unfortunately violence between same-sex partners does not qualify as domestic violence under South Carolina law.

A heterosexual victim of domestic violence can obtain an Order of Protection to achieve and preserve his or her safety. Unfortunately, because of the legal status of DV, gay victims are not eligible for orders of protection.

However, victims of same-sex DV can obtain Restraining Orders against their partners. While a restraining order does not confer as many benefits as an order of protection, it can still help victimsí safety and well-being.  

What a Restraining Order Can Do, and How to Get One:

They can be obtained from the local Magistrateís office. (Click here for contact info.)

They are usually free of charge.

To qualify for a restraining order, there must be at least two documented incidents of abuse, harassment, or stalking within the previous 90 days.

Restraining Orders are a matter of civil law, not criminal law, meaning an arrest cannot be made for violation.

In the event of Restraining Order violation, an attorney can file contempt charges, and a court date will be set, though it may be 2 or 3 months after the charge is filed. If the judge finds that the restraining order has been violated, a fine and/or jail sentence may be imposed.

Victims may contact My Sisterís House for assistance with the necessary paperwork or with any other questions.



National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233),

My Sisterís House
Serving Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties.
843-744-HOPE (3242),
My Sisterís House provides shelter for female DV victims and their children. For male and female victims of DV, My Sisterís House offers support groups and is available to answer questions and provide legal advocacy.

Safe Passage
Serving York, Lancaster, and Chester counties.
Provides shelter and additional services for DV victims regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Safe Harbor
Greenville, SC.
Provides shelter for women and other services for men and women.

Domestic Violence Home

What is Domestic Violence?

Addressing the Myths

How can we understand Domestic Violence within the LGBT community?