- If you wish to press charges or seek a protective order (immediately or in the future), it is important to preserve and record evidence and seek medical attention shortly after the event. Getting a medical exam does not mean that you must press charges.
- If an incident involves written or electronic communications (pictures/videos, texts, social media posts, etc.), take care to preserve copies and do not delete the originals.
Any person who has experienced sexual violence or relationship violence is encouraged to consider taking steps to preserve evidence of the incident, as doing so may be necessary to the proof of a crime or to obtain a protection order rom he court. Preserving evidence may also be helpful in a Title IX investigation.
To preserve evidence, you are encouraged to consider taking the following steps:
- Don’t wash anything (including your hair, hands, mouth and face), shower, douche or change your clothes before getting help. If clothes are changed, soiled clothes should be placed in a paper bag, as plastic bags may destroy crucial evidence.
- Don’t comb or brush your hair.
- If oral contact has occurred, don’t smoke, eat, or brush your teeth.
- Don’t drink liquids or urinate.
- Don’t touch any evidence of struggle or disarray.
- Record evidence including a description of the perpetrator (including type of clothing, race, age, height, weight, hair and eye color, distinguishing marks), where the events occurred, details of the events and the direction of travel of any vehicle involved. In the case of stalking, consider pre-serving other relevant information such as correspondence, social media posts, emails, texts or other communications or events.