If technology is being used to abuse, stalk or threaten you, remember that there are laws that can help. In order to prove to police, and the courts, that this is happening, remember that you need to collect evidence.
Evidence is also useful should you wish to report the abuse or threatening behavior to the service being used, for example a social media site. This can help in having the abusive user blocked from that service.
"Although it’s important to collect evidence, it’s even more important that you stay safe. Make sure you collect evidence only when it’s safe to do so, and keep it somewhere safe."
How do I collect evidence?
Collect evidence only when it is safe to do so, but make sure you act quickly in case the material is removed.
- Speak to a lawyer, legal service or police about what’s happening and the evidence you will need to demonstrate that a crime is being committed. Be aware that there may be issues around the collection of images of people under 18.
- Take screen shots of abusive posts, texts or emails. If you are not sure how to do this, see our videos on how to take screen shots on Apple devices, Android devices, Macs and PCs.
- Save or copy voicemail messages.
- Keep a record of any technology abuse and suspicious incidents as these help establish context and demonstrate patterns of behaviour.
A good starting point is the advice on what to include in a stalking incident log. The type of evidence needed might differ in your State or Territory so check with your local police.
There are mobile apps that can collect evidence, but only use these if the abuser can’t access your phone.
‘How to’ videos about collecting evidence
Where can I get help with collecting evidence
A lawyer or legal service can provide advice about the evidence you need to apply for a protection order or to prove that the abuser’s behaviour is criminal.
You, or a lawyer or legal service on your behalf, can also speak to the police about what evidence is required.
Types of evidence the police might need include your name and contact details, and whether you have a protection order in place. If you know who is responsible for the technology-facilitated abuse, a photograph of that person could be helpful along with their name, contact details, the car they drive and any criminal history.
Make sure you keep any relevant emails, photos and recordings, and make a note of relevant website addresses and usernames. It’s also important to make a note of the dates, times and locations of any incidents and material you’ve seen.
After making a statement be sure to follow the steps given to you by the police.