Many applications for a protection order proceed to trial, at which time it can greatly assist you if you have evidence to support any claims of domestic violence within your application.
Our practical tips for clients in relation to evidence gathering are set out below.
Report incidents of domestic violence to police
In response to any incidents of domestic violence, no matter how small or insubstantial they may seem to you, you should report the matter to police and provide a statement. Your statement and any incident reports created by police can then be referred to in your domestic violence proceedings.
Obtain statements from witnesses
We recently had a client who was threatened at her home in front of her children and her neighbour by her ex-partner. In assisting the client with her application, we advised her to get a statement from her neighbour to support her allegations of domestic violence.
If anyone witnesses an incident of domestic violence involving you, you should ask for a signed statement from them. This may need to be in affidavit form if you have proceedings on foot in the Magistrates Court.
We can assist you with drafting an affidavit to be signed by a witness, should you require
Obtain CCTV footage
Many individuals now have CCTV footage installed in their residence to ensure their safety and that their property is secure. If an incident occurs on your property and your neighbours have CCTV cameras, you should ask your neighbours whether the incident can be viewed on their CCTV footage. If so, it would be prudent to request a copy of the footage.
If the incident occurs in public, at changeovers for example, there may be CCTV footage available which records the incident.
It is common for changeovers to occur at restaurants such as McDonalds. If an incident occurs during changeover and CCTV footage would assist in substantiating your claims, you should contact the restaurant directly for access to the footage.
Request call logs from your phone provider
If you are receiving a high volume of calls and text messages and this forms part of your application, you should seek a call log from your phone service provider. You can use this to demonstrate the volume of contact being received. There may be a small charge for this service.
Record incidents of domestic violence
Depending upon your ability to safely do so, you should attempt to record acts of domestic violence.
You should only attend to the above to the extent it is safe to do so and should always ensure your safety, and any other aggrieved surrounding you, is your primary concern.
These tips should assist you if you are involved in domestic violence proceedings.
If you require legal assistance during this difficult time, please call to arrange a 10-minute free discovery session to discuss your matter. Our team has extensive expertise in the areas of domestic violence and family law and can help you to understand your rights and options moving forward.