Gather evidence to prove or dispel your suspicions

Maybe you thought you were in a stable relationship but then something happened to make you feel suspicious. Maybe your child has started to behave in ways you’ve not seen before which are seriously worrying and may indicate something harmful is going on. Perhaps there has been an unexplained change in someone’s behaviour towards you at work.  When these things happen you can start to wonder whether you are paranoid or if you’re right to be questioning what’s actually going on.  The answer is to make sure that you start to make a record of what has been happening so as to gather evidence to prove or dispel your suspicions.

How is gathering evidence the way to prove or dispel your suspicions?

If you’re questioning what’s really happening, you can spend a lot of time worrying about it. But rather than mulling things over in your mind, it’s better to do something more constructive. Don’t let things fester.  Start to make a proper record of what has been happening and see whether you can find a pattern which explains it.  ONRECORD is the best possible way to see any patterns in the events that are bothering you.  Use ONRECORD to make detailed notes of what has been happening and what happens next. That way you’ll see things much more clearly and perhaps patterns you haven’t noticed will emerge. 

With ONRECORD uploaded records show in the calendar, the map and the timeline.  You can immediately see the whole picture of when and where things happened which is far clearer than a simple list of events.  Not only that but you also rate how much each event worried or upset you, so you can easily identify the most serious.  You can than share this information online, confidentially, with any friends or family you choose or with professionals and  you can then message in-app to discuss what’s happening or get support/advice.  You can download your records at any time to get a printed statement whenever you need one. Sharing your concerns with a trusted family member or friend often helps to clarify things and can keep you strong. A problem shared is a problem halved. 

How to gather evidence to prove or dispel your suspicions

Make a record every time something happens and also fill in any backlog of suspicious past events that spring to mind now that you think about them.  You may start to see the patterns developing that will help you work out what’s going on. For example a certain event always happening at the same time shows it’s something prearranged or that fits in with someone else’s timetable. You’ll see the frequency of the problems you’re encountering and their seriousness.  This kind of knowledge can put things in perspective. You may find the problem is  infrequent and not that bad which might help to keep your reactions in proportion. But you might find the exact opposite and find your suspicions proved correct in which case you’ll be pleased you kept the records, as you’ll have something staring you in the face which needs to be addressed. 

Here’s more about how ONRECORD works and how it can help you.

What to do next if your suspicions are proved right

One of the main difficulties people face is getting professionals to take problems seriously and go about dealing with them competently.  Helping professionals to fully understand the nature and seriousness of the situation so that they act effectively is essential.  Here are some examples of what you can do if you are right and you’ve discovered a serious problem.

As an example, let’s say you are suspicious that your child self harming. Helping resources are scarce, particularly NHS mental health services for children (CAMHS). In this situation you’ll want them to get specialist help quickly and easily.  What you will need is evidence of the risks to the child that is powerful enough to motivate services, who may be stretched to their limit, to offer an effective service.  Powerful evidence means a detailed account of what he/she is actually doing (be sure to precisely describe what you know about what your child does, what kind of self harming it is and the resulting harm). Ideally you should try to show its frequency, when and where it happens and its impact on the child and on others in the family and elsewhere. All these things will help you argue your case for support. If all you can do is talk about it, rather than show detailed records, you’ll find it much more difficult to get the problem properly understood and taken seriously. 

Another example would be a work related problem.  Perhaps the manager is treating you unfairly and you need to complain.  A conversation in which you tell the Human Resources department that you’ve been ‘treated badly’ isn’t likely to get you very far. In fact it might get you into a worse situation when the manager hears about your complaint but knows you haven’t presented the problem clear and it’s not being taken seriously. So you lose out. However, if you turn up with well written and detailed records, made using ONRECORD, it will be very hard to ignore or minimise your problem.  Good evidence will help you build your case so that you’re better able to complain successfully.  By the way, for help in this kind of situation ACAS gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice. 

If it’s your relationship that’s the worry and you’re starting to suspect your partner is cheating on you or ‘gaslighting’ you (learn more about gaslighting here), keep records to enable you to work out what’s happening or to use as evidence if you end up having to take action. Gaslighting is serious and might even mean you need to go to the police, for example, because you’ve been tricked out of money.

Remember if you need to take action the first thing you always have to do, whoever you talk to, is explain what’s been going on. If it’s something that’s spread over time with lots of different things happening, you’ll never remember them all. What memory you have of those you do recall may not be in enough detail or have enough supporting evidence you can still get your hands on to prove what you’re saying.  You may not be able to remember clearly the order of things either. That means you’re on the back foot and probably feeling anxious, knowing that you can’t tell the story well enough. If you used ONRECORD and made detailed records every time, then the whole timeline, along with the map, calendar, any supporting documents, photos etc and all your written evidence will be there, organised and laid out clearly for you to refresh your memory and share. 

What to do with your evidence once you have confirmed your suspicions

There’s a lot of help available. The police of course if it’s a criminal matter. Lawyers can help, but they can be very expensive. Can you afford it or can you get legal aid for the particular problem and meet the eligibility rules? Learn more about getting Legal Aid. There are Law Centres in some places and other charities helping with issues like domestic abuse, stalking, coercive control etc. 

Citizens Advice offers help too. They are also very keen that you should gather evidence to prove or dispel your suspicions.  Check to see what’s on offer in your area. 

Getting help in a lot of circumstances is essential but it can be very hard to get your problem prioritised. For example Police resources are really stretched so you need to get their attention and make them take you seriously. Being well prepared is one way of making sure your case is dealt with properly. An account of what’s happened to you with next to nothing in the way of supporting evidence won’t get the same reaction as a well written, full account backed up with lots of supporting evidence. If you have made records, you’ll be perceived as someone who’s organised and reliable too, which also makes people take you seriously and consider you as someone deserving help.  

Here’s a podcast covering what a former Scotland Yard detective has to say about getting the attention of the Police:

Don’t leave your situation to chance and just hope that if the time comes, someone else will sort things out for you. Use ONRECORD to gather evidence to prove or dispel your suspicions. Take control, collect all the evidence you can yourself, present powerful evidence and be a force to be reckoned with. 

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