Proper Documentation

Proper Documentation

When you’re harassed online, documentation might feel upsetting, time-consuming and like a low priority, but it’s actually very important. If you don’t document, you may end up re-telling your story over and over.

Proper documentation is also critical to making a legal case. Failure to preserve all evidence— even if you believe it may be negative or unfavorable to you — could lead to adverse findings or sanctions against you by a court of law.

Document if you're experiencing any online harassment (threats, doxxing, etc)
-- Can include posts that seem “off” to help you establish trail of evidence, context
-- Can also include: online posts, text messages, videos, emails, voicemails, audio

Download as PDF

First, make sure you:

  • Before deleting, save
    -- If it’s an online post (web page, social platform), take a screenshot
    -- If it’s a video, secure to a hard drive
    -- If it’s an email, save and don’t forward original; try to obtain user's IP address
    -- If it’s a text, screenshot, save and note time

  • Create one place to save and store
    -- PageVault offers this service for a fee

Tip: If you need to, prioritize by documenting (at minimum):
(1) First post
(2) Three most recent posts, and
(3) Three most concerning posts


Then, choose what to do:

◻Create incident log and make sure it includes:

  • Date (and Time, if possible)
  • What Happened
  • Evidence It Happened
  • Who You Think Did It
  • Evidence They Did It
  • Evidence Still Needed
  • Handle, URL, and any context on why you are concerned

◻Write separate narrative (paragraph, page) about what happened

◻Organize saved posts/evidence (in chronological order or by concern)

◻Decide where to take and how to use the evidence
-- Law enforcement (local precinct or FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center), Court (criminal, civil, family, restraining order), Consultations (legal, crisis communications, security), Employer


Consider doing the following:

◻Create copies of posts

◻Print all saved posts and put in binder / folder

◻Securely store posts online
-- Consider using a USB drive
-- Be aware of availability of information in Internet archives

◻Add evidence to incident log (additional posts, ongoing communication, etc)

Tip: Enlist support from someone you trust to help you fill out a log and decide next steps



Without My Consent Evidence Preservation Chart

Without My Consent Something Can Be Done! Guide: Evidence Preservation

Chayn's Guide to How to Build Your Own Domestic Violence Case Without A Lawyer

Consult these OnlineSOS articles to learn how to:

  • Remove personal information online
  • Remove posts