Are you suffering from domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, parental alienation or a child custody dispute? Here are three good reasons why you must keep records.
Do you believe that the police will investigate your problem?
Do you believe that the best person to prepare a chronology of events for your case is your solicitor, charging upwards of £200 per hour?
Here are 3 reasons why you must keep records of domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, parental alienation and child custody disputes
If you believe the police can be relied upon to investigate your situation in this time of public service cuts and the huge rise in the cost of living, you are living in never-never-land. But there is no Peter Pan who will come to rescue you. The police are likely to be too stretched to investigate properly or they’ll be working shifts so that you never speak to the same person twice. You are unlikely to get the attention you need and any records one officer makes may not shared with others to form a full picture of events. (Learn more about complaining about the police and about police conduct). If you have to see a lawyer, is there any sense in paying through the nose to give them your account of the abuse you have experienced while they sit and take notes and then print out a list of all the things you have just told them? (learn more about paying for legal help). You are the only one who really knows what the stalking or other harassment has been like. And that means that you are the one who is in a position to gather and save the evidence you need to make and prove your case. That’s why you must keep records of domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, parental alienation and child custody disputes yourself.
If you can make your own record of what happened to you, you can seize the attention of the police who will then be able to understand the case and will be more willing to get involved. You can equally save the time (and fees) of your lawyer who will have the information they need to prepare for court. By gathering your own evidence together, you can take responsibility and control of your situation and not be dependent on the uncertain skills and occasional availability of ‘professionals’ who don’t know you and don’t really care what happens to you. That’s not to say that there aren’t wonderful police officers and excellent caring solicitors, but how can they possibly have the same knowledge of what has happened to you as you have? They can only find out what you know by you telling them. You can save time and money, and get your evidence across to them more effectively, by gathering it yourself and putting it in a form that any busy or distracted professional can understand and make constructive use of. ONRECORD is designed specifically for you.
Of course there are reasons why you may hesitate and feel unwilling to start making your own records of domestic abuse or a child custody dispute. Here are three common reasons.
You may have doubts about your ability to choose what information you can record that is going to be useful evidence.
Do some background reading so that you know what information is important in your situation. See our ‘How To’ guides to find the information you need to know about how particular offences are defined and what evidence you need to prove them.
Remember that a court wants to know what happened – facts about events. See our guidance on how to make records and our ‘Record keeping examples’. The facts of an event must include the ‘what’ happened and the ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’. ‘Why’ is less important because it is speculative and not fact. How you felt is also less important because it too is subjective.
To give a full account, name names, including witnesses, quote actual words as well as you can, avoid emotive language and just stick to a statement of the facts.
Finally, what you say happened needs to be backed up with any evidence you have that it did actually happen. That can be photos, screenshots, emails, witness statements – anything that makes it clear to a judge that you are telling the truth.
You may hate the idea of having to go over the details of horrible events, remembering them in detail and writing a clear record of them. Nobody wants to relive the unpleasantness if they can avoid it.
But remember, even if you don’t make the records yourself, you will have to go through it anyway with the police (if you’re lucky) or your lawyer. You might as well save yourself the time and money by doing as much of it as you can yourself. And anyway, you’re the one who knows what happened and has the evidence to prove it. They don’t know what happened until you tell them (or give them your gathered records of evidence).
You may have been having a problem for ages and feel that there’s so much that’s happened that you simply can’t get it organised – let someone else do it.
It’s absolutely true that by the time you realise you have a problem that needs legal help you have probably been struggling for ages. So much will have happened that you can’t remember properly and you may feel that it’s not worth trying to write it down.
But this is where doing it yourself is such an advantage. If you are talking to the police or your lawyer, you will be under pressure to get through all your recollections as fast as possible. In private and in your own time you can think more carefully about what evidence you really have of past events. Are there old emails or messages you can find? Are there witnesses who can remember and back you up? If not, you haven’t lost anything but if you can recall the details of past events you have a chance to paint a picture in depth of what has happened and give a real impression of what you have suffered.
So none of these are good reasons for not starting to make records and gathering your evidence yourself. If you keep records, you will save money, make a better case and you’ll get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of your evidence so that you know what else might help you to win your case.
Don’t imagine that other people can do this job better than you. ONRECORD is designed specifically to help you manage this task. The record keeping screen prompts you to gather the necessary details. Your records are organised into date and time order whenever you enter them. You can’t mess up your evidence by editing uploaded records. You can see your uploaded evidence in maps, a timeline, a calendar. You can share your records with friends and family or with professionals so that they can see in real time what you are recording and send confidential messages (the content of which you can choose to add to your records) to help and support you. Professionals you link to can download your records to work on themselves without you having to either part with your documentation or travel to their offices. This gives power, independence and control to you and less dependence on the efforts of often flawed professionals.