How to Document Domestic Abuse

worried woman and drinking man

Being trapped in an abusive relationship damages every aspect not only of the victim’s life but also that of the children witnessing the crime. Domestic-violence-related deaths across the nation account for around 30 percent of murders, but in Utah, it’s 44 percent. And women are the most likely victims.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, or if you know someone who is, staying silent is not the solution. There are ways you can fight back. The first thing you have to do is to document the abuse so that you will have substantial pieces of evidence to back up your claims in court. This is especially useful when filing for divorce. Your divorce lawyer in Salt Lake City can use these pieces of evidence to win your case for child support and custody.

Under Utah law, domestic violence includes any physical violence or harm (or even a threat) toward a cohabitant. Here are tips to safely and adequately document instances of abuse:

1. Medical reports documenting the injuries sustained by the victim.

Given the spike in domestic violence cases nationwide, health care providers are being trained to recognize signs of abuse. When you get the chance, visit a doctor and show your injuries. It can also be a safe space to disclose the abuse.

Medical records contain a variety of information that can be useful in legal proceedings such as photographs taken of the injuries, body maps that can document the extent and location of injuries, and even details about the emotional impact of the abuse.

2. Set up a recording device at home.

woman on her laptop looking at cctv footageA clear video or even audio recording of the abuse is a solid piece of evidence that is hard to refute. If you have a mobile phone, it most likely has a recording app that will let you record in the background. You can also purchase video-recording devices and set them up in places where the violence usually occurs.

You can also outsmart them and record them verbally admitting to abusing you in the duration of your relationship.

Save all of your files online in file storage websites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Be careful always not to share the passwords with anyone. Delete the files in your recording device for your safety. If you have a trusted friend, send all of the data to them so that you will have backup files. You can also save your files offline, in a flash drive for example, but be sure to hide it carefully.

3. Ask for official reports from organizations that support survivors of domestic violence.

Whether it’s a shelter, a law firm, or a support helpline, official reports from reputable organizations can also support your case. Reports like these help demonstrate that you’re telling the truth and you have reached out for help.

Going through domestic violence can make you feel hopeless and weak, but it’s far from the truth. Your freedom from an abusive relationship is in your hands. With the right help and advice, you can build a case for yourself and start your fight for a healthy home life.

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