If you are experiencing any kind of abuse, we encourage you to reach for support from a professional.

In many cases you will be required to provide evidence which can be extremely difficult.

However, there are some useful apps available to help you do this. In this article we have listed seven apps to document abuse as evidence.

Please do you research before deciding on the right one for you. Again, a professional in this field may be able to advise which is most suited to your circumstances.

RUSAFE

 

RUSafe is a free app for iOS and Android that evaluates the potential for violence and harm in a relationship. It is a key tool that empowers people to act before the situation gets out of control. RUSafe’s questionnaire helps you identify danger signs and potential for violence in a relationship with an intimate partner, family member, or coworker. It is based on a danger assessment system that draws on the experiences of domestic abuse survivors.

You start by answering a series of questions about the relationship so you can identify risks and immediately contact law enforcement or local emergency shelters. The app also comes with a secure journal for recording experiences as they happen and your thoughts and feelings about these experiences.

All entries are date-stamped and accessible through a password-protected email address for your privacy. Share evidence with your trusted circle and support professionals, and access a directory of domestic abuse support services right from the app.

VICTIMS VOICE

Lack of evidence is one of the biggest hurdles for victims and survivors of domestic violence. The app Victims Voice aims to change that. The app developers worked with law enforcement and attorneys to make sure that evidence recorded using the app is legally admissible.

When recording evidence, the app makes sure that you include important details, like witnesses, doctor visits for injuries, and other incidents that can be used to bring additional charges against the abuser. All information stays in a secure place, and you have control over access.

Entries cannot be edited once recorded to meet legal standards. And even if the abuser checks your phone or destroys the device, the information is safely stored in the cloud. Victims Voice is available for iOS and Android and costs $40 per year. If you can’t afford the license, there is an option to connect with a donor who can sponsor you.

MENTAL NOTE

If you live with an abuser who has access to your phone and devices, downloading apps to document abuse can be a huge risk. You want to protect yourself and avoid escalating abusive behaviour at the same time. Mental Note is an app that looks perfectly harmless and can help survivors record experiences securely as they happen.

Mental Note is basically a digital notepad that lets you organise your thoughts. It’s not a safety app, but the digital note-taking tools let you document abuse you may be experiencing. You can add notes, photos, voice recordings, text, drawings, videos and handwriting on a single page. Password protection keeps your private notes away from prying eyes.

Sharing notes with support professionals is easy with the export feature. Export as text, picture or a PDF document and send via email or iCloud. You can also share notes with your friends on Twitter. Mental Note costs $2.99 and is available for iOS devices.

VOICENOTE

VoiceNote is another one of those apps to document abuse that isn’t obvious. Like Mental Note, VoiceNote is not a safety app but a virtual pinboard for voice memos. When an abuser is watching your every move and you can’t type on a keyboard, the app lets you easily record conversations or dictate voice notes to use as evidence in court.

The user interface is simple and easy to navigate. Create a note in one tap and send it to friends, family and support groups via SMS, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Organise your notes by date so they are easy to find and save them to Dropbox or Google Drive.

One downside to VoiceNote is that you can’t upload photos or videos. The Android app is very basic, but gets the job done if all you need is voice-to-text documentation.

SMARTSAFE+

SmartSafe+ is a discreet app that empowers survivors to document abuse safely. It’s like a digital diary that is password protected and saved to the cloud. You can record photos, videos and voice/text notes of abusive behaviour and use the evidence to get an intervention order.

SmartSafe+ is easy to use even if you’re not tech-savvy. With one tap, you can capture quick voice recordings, photos and videos, and create new entries. Don’t know what kind of evidence will stand up in court? The app provides guidance so you can curate your documentation.

The app is cleverly disguised, so it does not look like a family violence app. You can easily delete the app without losing recorded information if the abuser checks your device. SmartSafe+ was relaunched in 2019 as the ARC app, with new and improved functionalities. To download SmartSafe+, email: smartsafeplus@dvrcv.org.au or call the DVRCV at (03) 8346 5200.

ARC

The ARC app is specifically designed for Australian women experiencing family violence. Many women are not aware that what they are experiencing may be illegal. ARC lets you take control of your experience with an abuser by recording patterns of abusive behaviour that make you feel scared or unsafe.

Take photos, videos, and audio of the experience and create diary entries to track abuse, when it happened, and how it made you feel. Information is encrypted for security and saved to the cloud to prevent tampering.

Documented evidence is a great way to provide reassurance to women that they did not imagine the abuse, especially when their partner denies the behaviour. Use evidence to explain the story to family, friends and support professionals, including law enforcement. Created by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, the ARC app is free to download on iOS and Android devices.

DOCUSAFE

DocuSAFE makes it super easy to collect evidence of all forms of domestic abuse (from sexual assault to online harassment) and share it securely with your support group and with police and legal professionals. You can take quick screenshots, photos and videos of abusive behaviour, including social media posts, repeat calls, and online impersonation.

It’s easy to track the frequency and extent of the abuse when you have your evidence in a central location. Even if you choose not to take legal action against the abuser, DocuSAFE identifies the abuse and any escalation as it happens so you can protect yourself.

DocuSAFE is not designed to assess or prevent abuse. If you suspect that your abuser is monitoring your device, the app may present a safety risk. Still, DocuSafe remains one of our top free apps to document abuse due to its powerful evidence collecting features.

POSITIVE PATHWAYS

Positive Pathways is a clever safety app designed for women experiencing domestic and family violence. It is an emergency app that can potentially save lives, but it looks anything but … a big plus if you live with an abuser who has constant access to your phone’s content.

Behind the innocent wellness and positivity façade are powerful tools to collect evidence like a password-protected daily diary where you can record incidents to use in legal proceedings. There’s also an audio recording feature that lets you record five minutes of the crisis by tapping on the logo three times.

Be safe with automatic help messages (with GPS location) sent to your trusted friends/family members and a one-touch 000 call function for emergencies. And when you’re having a tough day, positive and inspirational quotes are there to encourage you and provide mental health support. Positive Pathways is completely free to use. Available for Android and iOS.

Belinda Eldridge
Posted by Belinda Eldridge
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