For African women in Germany, it is very important to know which channels to take when seeking help as a victim of domestic violence so one knows how to prove they have been abused when making a report.
Women seeking to end a pattern of violence by reporting to the police and trying to seek shelter (Frauhaus) for protection need to have this knowledge. This is because, often are perpetrators left off the hook because the women who reported abuse are not believed to be abused.
Most women fail to realise that there are complex rules in relation to what you can present as evidence when reporting. They are left frustrated and helpless.
Legal matters require evidence for authorities to give assistance, as opposed to word of mouth followed with no tangible/visible evidence, especially in relationships. (read more below)
African women in Germany are advised to should gather evidence whilst deciding which witnesses could help you to prove your cause of action. It is critical to report incidences of domestic violence to law enforcement.
Below are the type of evidence you can gather to prove domestic violence:
Medical diagnoses/ injuries
Visit your doctor or the nearest medical care provider once you have experienced any form of physical injury as a direct result of violence this is especially important as mist women are scared to do so.
For evidence purposes, it is important to take pictures of your injuries and insist on receiving a medical report records of injuries sustained.
You should keep track of any witnesses by writing down their names, their contact information, and what they know about your case.
Anyone can be a witness – a friend, a family member, children, an emergency room nurse, a doctor, a stranger who saw or heard the abuse, a law enforcement officer, etc.
Police report/ evidence
Always be aware that you need to take down any evidence that can prove your cases. This is in effect of taping phone calls you may have made to the police before or nay calls to the police that could have been made on your behalf.
Please note: Because it is illegal to record anyone without their consent in Germany, ask the police if you can record the interaction or call someone and put them on speaker asking them to listen to your interaction with the police.
Make sure you make a record of when the police was called to your residence and ask for a report!
Read more information on German Laws and legislation here: https://afronews.de/tag/legal-news-and-guides-germany/
Picture evidence might be the best form of evidence to support your case. In this digital era it goes without saying that a lot of people have mobile pones that allow you to capture data in real-time.
Take pictures of your injuries, pictures of objects torn or broken by the abuser, pictures of your household in disarray after an episode of domestic violence and weapons used by the abuser against you, screenshots of threats in form of messages or comments and threatening voice notes sent to you.
READ MORE: Domestic violence and abuse against women in UK. How to get help and support
Say No to Domestic Violence – Kenyan artist Esther Akothee speaks up
Germany: On average, one woman is a victim of domestic violence in Germany every 45 minutes
Daily log of abuse
A diary of journal serves as evidence when reporting domestic violence as it happens.
African women in Germany can prepare a case showing details of each incidence of reporting domestic violence as they occur. This could be a list with the details of the abuse like time, date and incident happening.
Also, what did the abuser say or do if there was any actions they took to prove a series of events and frequency.
This way, if you have to prove the pattern of events in court, you will have the information ready to give to the police or judge. You can also save any voicemails, emails, or text messages that are sent as further proof of the stalking/harassing behavior – as well as taking screenshots of any posts made on social media to preserve them in case the person who posts them later deletes them.
Practice narrating your story
Reactions to shock or fear are entirely normal hence it becomes important to practice telling one’s story should you get nervous or overwhelmed when reporting.
Women can practice telling their story to a friend, or family or social worker or themselves in the mirror to make sure they have a steady recollection and also to make sure they don’t miss out on any details.
Tell your story in your own words and try to speak clearly.Try to focus on the relevant details of the incidents of violence, threats of violence, or any harassing or stalking behavior that you included in your petition.
When describing an incident where the abuser hit you, tell who you are reporting to especially if it is a judge, how you were hit, where on your body you were hit, how many times, what type of pain or injuries you suffered, if s/he used a weapon or object, etc.
If you are describing threats that the abuser made to you, don’t paraphrase the threat by saying, “S/he threatened to kill me.” Try to remember exactly what s/he said and give those details, such as “S/he threatened to slit my throat and throw me into the river.” In other words, be specific.
The more evidence one bears, the better for their case.
Source: African Mums in Deutschland