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.
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.