Here are our professional tips and advice for proving domestic abuse with ONRECORD.
In the UK, an estimated 2.4million adults experienced some form of domestic abuse between 2018-2019, an increase of 24% on the previous year. Worryingly, in 2019, domestic violence killings reached a 5-year high. Both men and women suffering at the hands of their abusers.
Proving domestic abuse can feel challenging. You may feel vulnerable, alone and can’t see a way out. If you are in this situation currently and you want to be able to let someone know what you are experiencing, our advice is to start gathering evidence and keep a record of behaviours.
At ONRECORD, we have developed a range of resources and an app to help you gather evidence of domestic abuse. You can record what happens and use these records to help you prove you are being abused.
Where to start…
- Refer to the list of domestic abuse behaviours and use ONRECORD to make a record of every time one of them occurs.
- You may want to use different labels to separately record different kinds of behaviour. For example you could keep separate records of being attacked, being threatened and being controlled or whatever different kinds of trouble you are suffering. Sorting events under different labels will make it easier for a reader to see the extent and frequency of each problem and seriousness of each incident.
- Were children present or able to hear what was happening?
Be sure to…
- Record if there were any other witnesses and who they were.
- Gather and upload any supporting evidence. For example, take photos of injuries or physical damage, make an audio description of what happened.
- Record what the perpetrator(s) did after abusing you.
- Record any other effects on you – any physical effect, any social effect (such as stopping meeting people or going to some places).
- After you make each record, ONRECORD invites you to give the incident an impact score. It’s helpful to say why you have given it that score – for example whether the incident was particularly violent or frightening. If you are so used to being abused that the abuse just seems like a normal experience and you score it as low impact, explain that. If the impact is on someone else, such as a child, say so. It’s really important to be sure the reader understands the severity, frequency, effect and impact.
- Don’t give up keeping records – they will be crucial if you don’t get a good enough response from the police and they will be excellent evidence when you get help from lawyers and other helping agencies.
- Because you need to prove a course of conduct, by which we mean a series of events and a pattern of behaviour, you should include a record of all repeats of events. The number and frequency of events will illustrate the severity of the abuse. Many small acts of abuse will build up into a severe pattern over time which can be at least as bad as a single severe event.
- Make a record of what you do about it too. For example, if you have to go the hospital or your GP, or if you go to the police or a counselling service, say so and record who you see, what they do and what happens as a result.
The best advice you’ll ever get is advice to take action and get listened to. What’s important is to make sure the domestic abuse stops not just for you but that children have a safe and stable environment to grow up in. Do remember social services might take action if it’s not addressed. So start to take the necessary action to get help.
Don’t give up keeping records – they will be crucial if you don’t get a good enough response from the police and they will be excellent evidence when you get help from lawyers and other helping agencies.
If you don’t make good records you’re really at a disadvantage. Remember, keeping records is what anyone who has a professional job, doctors, lawyers, police, anybody, does and it could be the difference between being heard and helped and being ignored.
If you keep good and detailed records of every event, you’ll end up with a chronology report, organised by date and time, that’s a weapon you can use against your abuser.
Your chronology report will also be helpful if those you try to get help from don’t take action or later deny knowing about the extent or seriousness of the problem such as the police or social services if they get involved. Anyone who lets you down needs to know that, if they get investigated, they will be in trouble for not taking you seriously.
Equally if you’re lucky enough to get good support and help then your records will be excellent evidence to use. Make sure anyone you complain to realises you have your records to support what you’re saying.
Using ONRECORD you don’t part with your records, you just share them. They can’t be “lost” in the system that way.