WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information

Starting the Court Case

What kind of evidence should I have for my case?

Each state has its own laws about what evidence you can use in court. You may need to get certified copies of the documents or you may only be able to enter information from certain parts of the document. If you are trying to get reports from police, hospitals, doctors, etc., you may have to get a subpoena signed by the judge to get those documents. Your state may require that the documents are sent directly to the courthouse instead of to you. Due to complex rules of evidence, it may be hard to figure all of this out on your own – this is where having a consultation with a lawyer can be especially helpful.

In most states, evidence can include:

  • testimony in court, from you or from your witnesses;
  • medical reports of injuries from the abuse;
  • police reports for when you or a witness called the police;
  • pictures of your injuries;
  • household objects torn or broken by the abuser;
  • pictures of your household in disarray after an episode of domestic violence;
  • pictures of weapons used by the abuser against you;
  • tapes of calls you may have made to 911, which can be subpoenaed;
  • certified copies of relevant criminal convictions of the abuser;
  • a personal diary or calendar in which you documented the abuse as it happened; and
  • anything else that might help convince the judge that is allowed under your state’s rules of evidence.

The more evidence you have, the better. However, even if you have no documents or witnesses, your testimony is evidence. Don’t be discouraged from pursuing your case if the “only” evidence you have is your testimony.