Did you know that 1 in 3 women, as well as 1 in 4 men, have experienced some type of physical violence by an intimate partner?
Sadly, domestic violence is quite common. What’s even more frustrating is that it can often be difficult to prove domestic violence in the courtroom.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence at the hands of your partner, you need to start recording the facts. Documenting domestic violence could be a huge help should you choose to press charges. But, how do you keep records that hold up in a court of law?
Check out this guide to learn the top tips for documenting your domestic violence case.
1. Take Pictures
If there’s physical evidence of abuse such as scratches, bruises, or marks, then it’s important to take pictures of these things.
We realize, however, that storing pictures on your phone may not be safe. We suggest either taking pictures of injuries on a disposable camera and finding someplace safe to store them, or, take the pictures on your phone, send them to a friend or someone you can trust, and then delete them.
2. Write It Down
The more details you can provide about the abuse, the more likely you are to win your case. Additionally, creating a paper trail of evidence and a history of abuse can also help you win.
After an abusive episode, we suggest writing down everything that happened, either in a journal or digital document. Be sure to include the following information:
- The time, location, and date of the incident
- Details about any injuries sustained
- If anything was broken
- Information about witnesses (if there were any)
- Any threats mad
- Who you told about the incident
- If any weapons were used
Write down everything you can remember about the incident, even the seemingly insignificant details. It’s these details that may help you prove your case later on.
3. Document Digital Evidence
Oftentimes, domestic abuse victims are able to build their case around digital evidence. This includes text messages, emails, social media interactions, voicemails, and more.
If your partner in anyway admits to abuse or brings it up via these channels, then it’s important that you find a way to document it (via screenshot or something else) and store it somewhere safe.
We also suggest printing out digital evidence and having someone you trust hang onto it.
4. Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve sustained an injury due to partner violence, then it’s very important that you seek medical attention.
Not only is this important for your physical well-being, but it’s also important for building your case and getting out of your abusive situation. Medical documentation of your injuries can go a long way in court, so be diligent about collecting medical reports.
Plus, doctors and other healthcare professionals can provide you with the resources you need to escape your situation.
5. Store Evidence Safely
We’ve touched on this a bit already, but it’s very important that you store the evidence you’ve collected safely. This is especially the case if you have the feeling that your partner is monitoring your phone or other belongings. Saving voicemails and texts on your phone can be dangerous, but it’s important to keep the information somewhere.
Use online journals that are password protected to write everything down. Create a specific email for sending texts, photos, and other documents that your abuser doesn’t know about. Also, make sure to memorize passwords instead of writing them down.
Documenting Domestic Violence: Are You Ready to Build Your Case?
Now that you’ve read these tips on documenting domestic violence, it’s time to put them to use so you can start building your case. The next step is to talk to your attorney as soon as possible.
If you’re ready to press charges for domestic violence, contact us today.