A record of relevant incidents can help at court hearings. If you can keep a record on the way through it will be much easier than trying to recall the timings and details of relevant events later. It's a good idea to store the information away from the home if possible. You can download electronic information to a USB or consider free Cloud based storage such as Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive. Consider leaving documents and records with trusted friends or family members or a bank deposit box.
If you will be accessing or storing information on a computer or smartphone, make sure the information or document is password protected. However, if you suspect that your electronic devices (computer, tablet or smartphone) are being monitored, try using a safer device or other alternatives to access and save your information. See 1a. How to protect yourself and your technology.
You can also use the free Arc app to document what is happening in your situation. This has been specially designed for women facing domestic or family violence to track details of abusive behavior. You can upload photos videos, audio and diary entries to create a record of what’s happened. Further information about Arc, including safety considerations, can be found at the Technology Safety Australia website. Before downloading and using the app, please take note of the Safety and Privacy Considerations and Tips detailed on the website.
Things to gather as evidence will include:
- Photographs of injuries (yourself, children, pets);
- Photographs of property damage that occur during an incident;
- Audio/visual recording of events – events can include verbal abuse, physical abuse, drunken behaviour even if not directed at you, abusive or hostile behaviour to other people, even to friends and family;
- Screenshots of relevant messages/call logs/social media posts;
- Journal of incidences of physical, emotional, financial or social abuse – make sure you record the date, time, names of people present, a summary of the incident, what people said or did to the best of your recollection, and any actions taken after the incident (e.g. contacted police at 9.40 pm);
- Diary of visits to professional service providers connected with relationship break-down. These might include your GP, counsellor, hospital, lawyer, Legal Aid, Centrelink, financial planner, school (in relation to children's behaviour or safeguarding);
- Diary of police visits, including any statements made and police report numbers;
- Details of relevant courses attended such as Relationships Australia, Anglicare, alcohol or substance abuse related courses, anger-management, etc;
- Documents relating to money or “allowance” provided and evidence of payments for grocery shopping, household expenses; and
- Documents recording any financial contributions you have made to the family, including superannuation contributions.