You’ve made the decision to go after what’s yours, you have our app downloaded, and you’re ready to get started. You’ve been told you need evidence though, and that might seem really daunting after everything you’ve gone through. Don’t worry – you’re going to be in a much better place if you get as much evidence as you can and it won’t be anywhere near as overwhelming if you follow these steps. It doesn’t matter whether you are gathering evidence for a sexual assault, Domestic Violence case, preparing for divorce from a narcissist, or preparing to enforce a child support order from a parent who has continuously slipped through the cracks. facts, evidence, and as much calm as you can muster so that you can have a clear head is what will get you through.
It’s important to remember that emotional reactions are to be expected when you’re under stress and it goes without saying that even long after the fight has begun, being asked to provide evidence, facts and documentation only prolongs the agony.
Many people quite understandably withdraw from taking further action against their ex-partner because they feel that gathering and presenting evidence, then having to justify it in court is too upsetting and stressful and not worth it.
Just because the onus is on you prove what’s happening or has happened, it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily stressful or traumatic. Here are some suggestions on how to ease the pressure for everyone involved and ensure a swift resolution.
Do it as you Go
At the first indication that something is wrong – even if you aren’t sure it is wrong at the time – start collecting your evidence. This could be text messages, emails, photos, or even just taking a few notes. If you don’t think you can write it down, record it to a voice memo on your phone so it can be transcribed later. The important thing is to start that body of evidence and add to it little by little. That way, when you know you really do have an issue, you’ve already got enough to share to get things taken to the next stage.
Get Supporting Evidence
If you can corroborate your evidence with date, time, and location then that makes it a lot easier for people to put together a picture of activity and behavior. Patterns and repeat behavior always strengthen a case.
Share it with a Friend
A problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes. Find your Trusted Contact and give them access to the evidence you are collecting right from the start. They are likely to have a less emotional viewpoint and can help you gather things or add context where you might not be able to. It could be someone you trust who is a close friend or it could be a police officer, HR manager, lawyer, or colleague.
Use Digital Tools
Phones, computers, doorbells, music, fridges, cars, and countless other tools we take for granted all have a digital footprint and it makes it so much easier to gather evidence using these things. Think about where you’ve been able to legally capture information, communication, and activity through any of your digital tools and keep it all in one place for when the time comes.
Always Add Context
When evidence is presented in black and white it doesn’t give all of the story. Context is vital in ensuring people really take into account the impact of what has been happening to you. Some people will experience something that could be no big deal, but the next person could be devastated by it. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, but be sure to add a note about how it made you feel at the time.
Christine Townsend is the Founder/CEO of PRESERVED, an app that helps individuals log evidence to strengthen their case. She created it to provide an easy to use tool for people who needed a voice. You can download it today for free here.