How to gather evidence to make your case

OnRecord enables you to use your mobile phone or tablet to help when you have a serious problem and you want to do something about it. It’s much smarter than keeping notes on paper or a diary. As soon as your records are saved to our database, the technology can go to work and make the information easy to read, analyse, illustrate, put in order and be transformed into a statement that can help to make your case.

It can be used in lots of different circumstances in which evidence must be gathered over time to prove what is happening:-

  • High risk situations where the police and lawyers may get involved, for example if you’re being stalked, where you’re being subjected to domestic abuse or being abused or mistreated in other ways and not being protected by the authorities.
  • Complaining hasn’t worked. For example a relative is suffering harm and neglect in a hospital or other accommodation, your child is being bullied at school, or someone is seriously unwell, struggling or hard to support but is being denied the care they need.
  • Discrimination at work or poor work performance where evidence is needed, perhaps from several different people, to prove the case.
  • Relationship breakdown, a dispute about the care of the children or failing contact arrangements.
  • Young people experiencing abuse or neglect but who are unable to report it until they’re feeling ready and safe to do something.
  • Consumer rights, when you are making a complaint and need evidence in support.

The possibilities are endless but in every case you will want to be believed and to have the problem taken seriously when you’re ready. Keeping good records is key to success.

Anyone who has successfully dealt with problems like these will know they have to present a good case with credible evidence. But what is good evidence? Evidence is a true account of events and the more detailed, the more it is supported by other consistent records and observations the better. If what you say can be backed up with any tangible supporting evidence such as photos, letters, emails, texts it becomes more convincing and compelling. If an event is witnessed by someone else who is believed, that obviously helps too. You might face strong opposition and attempts to make you look like you are mistaken or even lying. Others may tell lies to try to discredit you. Cases involving public bodies or large organisations are particularly difficult to handle because the people within them will be united in not wanting to be shown to be neglectful or negligent and they have the resources and influence to fight you and to cover up and deny.

Making a credible case, to overcome the resistance that will be put in your way, requires determination and effort over time. It needs your patience and perseverance. You shouldn’t give up. If you’re able to commit to keeping up with the recordings and doing it properly, completing all the sections when prompted, then you’re improving your chances of getting heard and being taken seriously. Once you’re ready, get some advice and help with using your records to create a statement in support of your case.

Here are some tips to get the best out of OnRecord

If you’re at risk and fear for your safety, be cautious. Firstly, don’t tell anyone other than people you really trust that you’re using our app. Secondly, use the option in the settings section to (1) ‘Delete all records on this device’ and (2) ‘Don’t store on this device’. All your records will have been automatically saved to our secure server anyway and will not be affected. The person you have permitted to see your records on our server will still be able to see them. But remember that the thread names will still be there, so carefully choose thread names that will not get you into trouble if someone unwanted reads them or change them now to something that won’t put you at risk.

Before you start recording think carefully about whether you want to keep all the records under a single heading (‘thread’) or separate the issues into a number of threads. In the advice we give about the most common issues, we give some examples of what thread headings might be useful.

If you’re being abused by someone who might get access to your phone, don’t name that person in your records. It’s safer to use another way of identifying them. It could be a letter or a number for example.

Try to keep the records as soon as you can after the event but only when you’re safe.  The sooner you make the record the more it will be believed to be accurate.

If you realise that you have made a mistake after inputting a record, go back and add a correction by backdating to the date and time of your original record and putting in the correct information as a new record.

Keep the records as thorough as you can but relevant. Don’t waffle. Keep it clear and where something important is said use the actual words. “He threatened me” is not as good as “He said ‘I will find you wherever you go and kill you’ “.

Back up your records with anything that supports what you’re saying. You may have a text, email, photo or video for example.

Always record if an event has been witnessed by someone else and say who it is and include their contact details.

Use the timeline and calendar on your mobile device to see the pattern of what is happening (unless you have opted to hide the records on your phone). It may help you decide if it’s time to get advice or take action.

In some cases it’s necessary to prove a course of conduct, for example where you’re experiencing coercive control (being controlled by threats or violence) in domestic abuse. This is where repeated recordings describing what you are being made to do or stopped from doing are important. Keep recording examples even if they all seem to be the same day after day. The more occasions the better.

Above all, don’t stop recording.