Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Criminal Justice and Criminology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Akiv Dawson


Marsy's Law, or the Victims Bill of Rights legislation, was first passed in California in 2008 and has been adopted by 13 states. In 2019, Georgia was added to the list of states that adopted the policy. While an important step for the victims' rights movement, little is known about how Marsy's Law impacts the landscape of victims’ rights at the local level. Therefore, the current study endeavored to explore how Marsy's Law is shaping the landscape of victims’ rights for domestic violence victims in Coastal Georgia. Guided by the zero-sum conceptualization of victims' rights, the study investigated the law's impact from the perspective of individuals whose work focuses on victims. The study involved eight semi-structured interviews with criminal justice practitioners, victim service providers, and victimologists in Coastal Georgia to address two research questions. The interviews revealed that the participants are knowledgeable about Marsy's law and supportive of the changes that should result from it. Thematic analysis of the interviews also showed that the participants believed that the law made a critical difference in the lives of domestic violence victims. At the same time, the participants who worked within the criminal justice system did not believe the law had much of an impact on how they did their jobs. The qualitative themes, implications for policy, and directions for future research are discussed.