Keeping a diary
It is useful to keep a diary of any communication you have with your ex-partner. It is useful to keep notes of any conversations. Write notes of your discussions as soon as possible afterwards. Put the date of your conversation and the date you wrote the notes.
Record any threats that he makes to you and any verbal abuse.
It is especially important to keep a diary of incidents of violence or abuse. Use a cheap diary with one day to a page so that you can record dates and times of any abuse that happens to you or your child. Often you can be so busy just surviving that it is difficult to remember dates and times of abuses after the event.
Information that you put in the diary should include:
- What day and time did the incident occur?
- What happened?
- What was said by whom?
- Who was there?
- What form did the violence take?
- What specific injuries were suffered?
- What previous acts of abuse were suffered?
- What action was taken, if any?
This can assist you if you need to apply for a domestic violence order, police will want times and dates. It will also be useful to use in Family Court proceedings. You will need to show the court when the incidences of domestic and family violence occurred. If anything abusive is written to you by the other parent make a photocopy for your records.
Although abusive notes and messages can be difficult to hang on to and you may just want to ‘move on’, don’t throw it away, keep a special folder for this kind of stuff, and keep it somewhere safe.
Down the track if you continue to suffer violence and abuse from your ex partner you could find yourself needing a restraining order or may need to prove to the family court a history of domestic violence. The courts will need dates and times when violence happened it is better if you have an accurate record.
Keep records of all contact with police whether on the phone or in person. Always ask the name and badge numbers of the police who investigated and write it down. If there has been an incident ask for a ‘police incident report’ receipt number.
Record any Hospital visits for you or your child including the name of the doctor and what occurred.
If you or your child have had medical help for any injuries caused by your ex partner record these and ask your doctor to record on your medical file any injuries sustained.
It is also useful to keep a diary of all appointments, court dates and interviews with all of the agencies that you become involved with such as child protection services, Centrelink, child support, legal services etc. and a brief outline of your discussions with these agencies and professionals.
Children – Communication booklet
Use email (if possible have your own email for your ex-partner) or a communication notebook for all communications with the other parent and to use at handover times. This hopefully avoids either parent using the children as messengers. It also means that you don’t have to talk extensively to your ex-partner at handover times.
What information to record:
About the child – health, clothing, feeding, plan for the day.
Any changes in arrangements for the following weeks.
Do not respond to any abusive messages that your ex-partner may write in the communication book. Anything you write in the communication book may be used as evidence in court.
If you write a journal please be careful that this cannot be accessed by your ex partner. There have been cases where personal journals have been subpoenaed or stolen and used as evidence in court.