What is it?
An incident log (or evidence chart) shows a detailed, narrative record of all of the harassment you’ve experienced--whether online, over the phone, or in person. Often created in the form of a document or spreadsheet, it’s a critical part of making a criminal and/or civil case against the person(s) harassing you.
Why is it helpful?
An incident log makes it easier to find records and evidence of specific instances of harassment. This can help you:
- Document specifics of harassment in case of escalation
- Avoid having to repeat information when seeking assistance
- Organize your evidence to make it easier to review, enabling others (legal advisors, law enforcement) to help you more quickly and efficiently
What’s in it?
The log is most effective when it includes key facts and evidence, including:
- Date (and Time, if possible) of any harassment you experienced
- Description of harassment and where it happened
- Evidence it happened, including photos and links
- Who you think did it, and any information you know about them (including their relationship to you, their address and contact information, and their online accounts and/or social media handles)
- Evidence they did it, including screenshots, PDFs, call logs, etc.
- Evidence still needed and who has it
- Any additional information, including URL of harassing posts, additional context on why you are concerned, etc.
Make sure that any information you record in the log is factual and listed chronologically. Also make sure to attach evidence you have to the log, and make copies of it (including screenshots, PDFs, photos, etc).
How do I make one?
You can choose one of these incident log templates below, and then download and use a clean version for yourself.
National Network To End Domestic Violence Sample Technology Abuse Log:
--Download and use this log if the perpetrator is someone you know
What else should I do when creating my log?
According to C.A. Goldberg, a law firm that fights for victims of sexual assault, stalking, and blackmail, you should take these additional steps when completing an incident log:
"Save them in a folder on your computer or, better yet, an external hard-drive like a USB. External back-ups prevents hacking!"
"We also suggest implementing a file name system that indicates the date and type of incident. For example, a screenshot of a Facebook message sent on September 9, 2017 could be filed as 09092017_FB_Message. Organizing your evidence in a uniform way makes it easier for others to review and analyze."
"Each time you’ve saved an incident of harassment, write a brief and succinct summary of what the screenshot or voicemail contains in your Incident Tracking Template. These descriptions will help your attorney and the police to work quickly, saving you time and money."
"It can be short, i.e. "This screenshot of an Instagram direct message from my ex shows him threatening to release my nude photos if we don’t get back together.”
"Don’t let your emotions get in the way. Facts are your greatest ally, so be objective when describing the contents of the evidence."