Taking Safety Measures

Gather evidence

cell phone imageIt is hard to prove emotional and psychological violence. Most perpetrators are very crafty and will lie shamelessly.  As has been amply proven, memory is notoriously unreliable, and the more you can document, the stronger your case will be.  Lawyers insist on that!   Even when you are told that there is no point in taking notes, persist.  You won’t be sorry!

  • Take notes on what happens between you and your abuser including dates, places and circumstances.
  • Keep copies of emails, notes, letters.
  • Create a log of every meeting with authorities, social workers, police.
  • Take photos of your bruises or other wounds, even if they have been reported to the authorities
  • Take photos of your children which show that you are a caring mother.
  • Try to record arguments; for now recordings are not always admissible evidence, but sometimes they are.

Prepare a departure.

Filing cabinet1) Gather and hide documents such as passports, identity cars, residence permits, pay slips, bank statements, credit card information, checkbooks, medical certificates etc.

2) Store and memorize important telephone numbers – police, help hot-lines.

3) Have people willing to help you in case of emergency. This includes arranging a place to stay temporarily

4) Figure out a communication code with a close friend (who could call police services herself if needed).

5) Inform children about what to do.

6) Prepare a “get-away bag” to be kept in a safe place (important documents, personal address book, money, linen, house and car key duplicates).

7) Gather testimonies: Family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues may have witnessed violent episodes or seen the consequences of a situation of violence suffered by a victim. They can testify about what they saw, heard or found. Written testimonies must be dated, signed and covered with a photocopy of the witness’s identification. These testimonies are important as they corroborate the victim’s declarations.

8) Keep copies of emails and SMS messages which demonstrate your partner’s insults and abuse, as these can also be used as evidence.

Remember: In a situation of danger, a victim has a right to leave and find a shelter in a place of her own with her children. It is, however, recommended that the victim inform the police (or gendarmerie) of her departure and file a complaint with them.