A Closer Look at Marsy's Law in Georgia with Devyn Duncan
Devyn Duncan is the Victim Services Director for the Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. After having earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, she has been working as a victim advocate for nearly five years.
While Devyn never intended to pursue victim advocacy, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. She loves interacting with and helping victims, and getting to see how much individuals can flourish once they are out of a domestic violence situation. When Devyn is not at work, she is usually baking or playing with her mini golden doodle, Indi.
Q. Since Marsy’s Law has passed in Georgia, what differences have you seen/anticipate seeing take place in the court system?
A. Since Marsy’s Law has passed in Georgia, I have seen more victims become present in the prosecution of cases. Now that victims know they have the right to be present at court proceedings and the right to be heard in regard to those proceedings, they feel more involved in the criminal justice process and can see first-hand the difference that they’re making.
Q. Which component of Marsy’s Law stands out to you most and why?
A. The component of Marsy’s Law that stands out to me the most is victims having the right to be heard at any scheduled court proceedings. Oftentimes, I feel like victims don’t always feel heard, and allowing them to speak directly to the court gives them that opportunity. I also feel that by being heard, victims are able to stand up to their abusers and this can provide a sense of closure for many victims.
Q. As you've worked to spread awareness about Marsy's Law in Georgia, what has been the response from those you work with and in your community?
A. By spreading awareness about Marsy’s Law in Georgia, the attorney’s in the office I work in, have made it a point to ensure victims are notified about any and all court proceedings. They also listen to victims and do their best to make sure the court knows exactly how the victim feels if they are unable to be present in court.
Q. With this month being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, what actions have you recommended people take to help prevent and eliminate domestic violence in your state, and how do you believe the passage of Marsy’s Law has helped in that regard?
A. In talking with victims of domestic violence, I always recommend individuals to leave the situation if they are able or create a safety plan to remove themselves from any further violence. I also make sure individuals know there are resources out there available to help them move out of the violent home, the area or even the state. Since Marsy’s Law has passed in Georgia, I think victims of domestic violence feel more comfortable reporting the violence because they know they will be notified of any release or arrest of their abuser, as well as updates as the case moves through the Criminal Justice System.
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