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Having evidence is essential when you need to either open a case against an abuser or defend yourself and/or claims. By keeping evidence of everything you have the opportunity to use it when you need it. Being prepared gives you peace of mind.

Why is evidence so important?

First and foremost having evidence is essential when you need to either open a case against an abuser or defend yourself and/or claims.

You will need evidence for:

  • Your lawyer. 
  • To open a case. 
  • To file for protection. 
  • In the event of an investigation either by law enforcement or for custody negotiations or legal enforcement.

By keeping evidence of everything you have the opportunity to use it when you need it.

What is considered evidence?

Everything!

Every.Single.Thing.

ENo matter how insignificant it might seem at the time, it might be a build up to something bigger.

How to collect evidence:

Keeping records of everything by:

  • Taking photos of every mark or bruise as a result from physical abuse. 
  • Taking photos of anything damaged or broken as a result of physical intimidation or abuse. 
  • Recording calls and interactions with the abuser. 
  • Screenshots of calls and messages. 
  • Exports of conversations. 
  • Keeping a diary of all conversations, events and incidents. 
  • Keeping and printing all correspondence in case your device is either hacked or crashes. 
  • Documenting the OB number from police every time you need to either call for assistance or report anything to them. 
  • Making an affidavit after an event or incident where you, for whatever reason, did not call the police or report it to them.

By keeping evidence of everything you have the opportunity to use it when you need it.

Being prepared gives you peace of mind.

When I was in court for my protection order hearing, this is what I learnt:

Video/Recorded evidence:

Any recording or video submitted needs to be authenticated by a professional or it can’t be used! This is in accordance with the Electronic Communication Act.

*My recordings of the abusive incidents were the base of my evidence but could not to be used.

Witness statements:

All supporting witness statements must be stamped and signed by a commissioner of oaths, or they cannot be used or considered by the court.

*None of my supporting witness statements were commissioned when I filed my original application due to the urgency of my application.

Proving a pattern:

The court only considers evidence that is a clear violation of the Domestic Violence Act, and you need to be able to show a pattern of each violation, it is vital that this is submitted in your initial application.

You cannot provide any additional evidence unless the court formally requests it.

Even evidence of cases that were opened for violating the interim protection order would not be considered as the court did not request additional evidence and therefore was not accepted.

^^ It is vital that every victim understands the Domestic Violence Act and what constitutes abuse as well as all the forms of each violation- eg: What does harassment include, what all is considered emotional abuse, what is physical abuse, etc. So that your application and evidence clearly displays this.

Applicant or Respondent?

I never expected to be treated like I was on trial.

I was thoroughly questioned by the Magistrate, and the Respondent’s attorney tried to rip my character apart, questioned my motives and made very defamatory statements about me and my application.

The respondent was not questioned at all. His attorney merely had to respond to my statements, which was more of an attack on me than a defence on his client’s abusive behaviour!

They really play victim:

In court I learned that the abuser tried to apply for a protection order against me but it was declined. His whole defence was that he is a victim, and to get all my evidence thrown out of court!

A Narcissist sees no wrong in their behaviour, they really believe they are the victims, and they will try prove this in any way possible!

It is so important that we are aware of what we say and do when dealing with abusers, they will use anything and everything they can against you to make themselves look like the victim.

^^ When you are forced to communicate with an abuser always remember that anything you say can and will be used against you! Keep this in mind ALWAYS!

Conclusion:

I realised my original application for protection was severely flawed and almost all of my evidence was unable to be used. Although I was awarded with a Permanent Protection Order, I almost wasn’t!

The only way I managed to get my permanent order was by using his opposing statement. He was so set on justifying his abusive behaviour and claiming to be a victim that he admitted to being abusive.

If you are looking to apply for a protection order or are currently going through the process, please reach out, let us help you so that you get it right! So that you are prepared on what to expect and how to get through it.

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