Reliable and accurate evidence is the cornerstone of every investigation. Whether it's a tribunal, a criminal case or something that involves your human resources department or your city council, the evidence needs to be there. You know that what's really happening to you but you need to prove it. It's understandable that gathering evidence seems like a daunting task. It doesn't have to be. Emotional reactions are to be expected when you're under stress and it goes without saying that even long after an event or incident, being required to provide evidence only prolongs the agony. Many people quite understandably withdraw from taking further action against a person or company because they feel that gathering and presenting evidence, then having to justify it in court is too upsetting and stressful and not worth it. Just because the onus is on the victim to prove what happened, it doesn't have to be unnecessarily stressful or traumatic. Here are some suggestions on how to ease the pressure for everyone involved and ensure a swift resolution. Do it as you go
At the first indication that something is wrong - even if you aren't sure it is wrong at the time - start collecting your evidence. This could be text messages, emails, photos or even just taking a few notes. If you don't think you can write it down, record it to a voice memo on your phone so it can be transcribed later. The important thing is to start that body of evidence and at to it little by little. That way, when you know you really do have an issue, you've already got enough to share to get things taken to the next stage. Get supporting evidence
If you can corroborate your evidence with date, time and location then that makes it a lot easier for people to put together a picture of activity and behaviour. Patterns and repeat behaviour always strengthen a case. Share it with a friend
A problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes. Find your Trusted Contact and give them access to the evidence you are collecting right from the start. They are likely to have a less emotional view point and can help you gather things or add context where you might not be able to. It could be someone you trust who is a close friend or it could be a police officer, HR manager, lawyer or colleague. Use digital tools
Phones, computers, doorbells, music, fridges, cars and countless other tools we take for granted all have a digital footprint and it makes it so much easier to gather evidence using these things. Think about where you've been able to legally capture information, communication and activity through any of your digital tools and keep it all in one place for when the time comes. Always add context
When evidence is presented in black and white it doesn't give all of the story. Context is vital in ensuring people really take into account the impact of what has been happening to you. Some people will experience something that could be no big deal, but the next person could be devastated by it. You don't need to spend a lot of time on this, but be sure to add a note about how it made you feel at the time.