Document Type



This study investigates the relationship between victims of intimate partner violence and legal actors within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Qualitative interviews were conducted with nine participants, eight were advocates for victims and one was an attorney for victims at an advocacy center. Interviewees recall their experience aiding victims both in and out of the courtroom, noting differences depending on how the victim’s race, gender, or sexuality interact with social structures and legal actors. Narratives provided by advocates reveal a difference in treatment for victims of domestic abuse depending on their social categories, including race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. My analysis shows correlation between treatment by legal actors, namely the court and law enforcement and the social categories mentioned previously. I conclude the relationship between legal actors and the victim’s social categories, and how they are perceived by such legal actors, affects how the victim is treated.


Criminal Justice

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Jamie Huff, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Emily Brissette, Committee Member
Dr. Jennifer Hartsfield, Committee Member