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Do’s & don’ts of collecting electronic evidence

cellphoneTechnological abuse leaves an electronic record that can be used in court against your ex-partner.

If you experience technology abuse

DO call the police if you are afraid for your immediate safety or the immediate safety of others.

DO work with a women’s organization.

  • They will give you support, help with safety planning and may be able to help with evidence collection.

DO consider involving the police with evidence collection.

  • Jurisdictions differ in how they deal with digital evidence. Local police will know what is needed for your court and they can show you how to collect evidence.

DO visit for tips on collecting evidence and keeping safer online.

DON’T retaliate.

  • What you say or do online can be used against you.

DON’T delete your ex-partner’s messages, even if they are really hurtful or say the same thing over and over.

  • This might be hard, but the messages can be used as evidence.

If you find out that your partner/ex-partner is monitoring you

If your partner/ex-partner is monitoring your phone, computer or accounts or has set up a webcam in your home or GPS on your phone or car:

DO contact police or a women’s organization immediately for help.

DON’T do anything that will alert him that you know. This might make him more abusive.

If a person is abusing you on social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

DO block the person and use the settings to increase your privacy.

  • You can also contact the website for help. The person could be banned from the website. HOWEVER, the site might delete the abuse and the evidence will be lost.

DO speak with police or a service provider for ways to collect this evidence.

If you want to use technology abuse as evidence

DO keep a log about the abuse (as well as keeping the evidence).

  • Write down the date, time, any witnesses and related details.
  • Having all the information in one place will:
    • Help you see patterns and changes in your ex-partner’s behaviour.
    • Make it easier for the court/police when they first learn about your case.

DO include information in the log about other abuse by the person.

  • e.g. he threatens you when he picks up the kids, he follows your car, his mom calls you names when she sees you.

DON’T document how you felt about the abusive message or event.