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TIPS ON SUBMITTING EVIDENCE
The evidentiary requirement for an IC procedure is nothing like that of a regular criminal case. The evidence presented is balanced by the IC to see which side is more probable.
Across universities, IC’s function differently, while we may not know the specifics of your situations, here is some general advice that we have gathered from our experience that may help you:
First and foremost, it is important to have clarity on the details of the incident. We recognise that trauma can often cause repression of such memories as a psychological coping mechanism. Write or type all relevant details down, i.e, what, where, when, how did the incident happen, what followed, etc. If you are comfortable, run it past yourself/friend a few times, so that upon presenting the same to the IC, you are able to maintain a consistent stance.
Make sure that to the best of your knowledge you are aware of the chronology/timeline in which everything took place, for e.g, after the incident, if you first spoke to your friend, then confronted the accused and then spoke to witnesses X, Y, Z. Represent it to the IC in the same order.
If you do not have the any/many of the evidence mentioned below, do not worry. None of the below-mentioned pieces of evidence is crucial and their absence does not put an end to your case. However, try to present whatever evidence you possess in a careful and organized manner. It is also advisable to provide a reason for the absence of the same, if any. For example, a survivor may have been intimidated into deleting electronic evidence or the accused was a friend and therefore the survivor did not tell other people about the incident.
It is advisable to speak to any witnesses who were there or might have seen the incident or part of the incident, or what happened prior to the incident. You can speak to such persons to submit a statement of their account to the IC.
Whom you spoke to right after the incident, or anyone who experienced your reaction after the incident, also holds relevance from an evidentiary standpoint. i.e, if you spoke to Y a person standing nearby about how you are feeling unsafe, or if you opened up to a friend about the incident, that holds relevance. It is advisable to speak to such persons to submit a statement of their account to the IC.
It is advisable to keep notes of any conversations or meetings you have about the harassment, with the accused, his friends, witnesses, including with the IC member or other relevant persons. Keep note of the time, date, and place of the meeting for your own clarity.
It is advisable to save/screenshot any electronic evidence, such as emails, texts, letters, or messages about the incident, or between you and the harasser/witnesses/friends pertaining to the incident, i.e, if the accused was frequently texting you, keep record and screenshots of it.
It is advisable to keep a copy of the complaint submitted.
It is advisable to keep copies of any other documents related to the harassment, and any responses.
If you think the accused has retaliated against you or is directly or indirectly making efforts to intimidate you after filing the complaint, it is advisable to keep detailed notes of date, place, time of the same and whether there were any witnesses. Approach them as well and ask them to submit statements to the IC regarding the same.
If you visited a therapist and spoke to them about the incident, It is advisable to try to get a written description from the therapist detailing your mental state. This holds relevance in the proceedings.
If you have suffered any injuries, and they are still present on your body, get yourself medically examined (for your own well-being as well as from an evidentiary standpoint), it is advisable to take pictures and get a description from a medical practitioner. If you showed the injuries to a friend, their statement is relevant as well. However, at the cost of sounding repetitive, it does not disadvantage you in any way if you do not possess such evidence. Amidst the fresh trauma of it all, the IC does not expect you to get yourself medically examined.
Look out for any CCTV camera’s at the venue, even if they capture a part of the incident, it holds relevance. It is advisable to procure the CCTV footage if the place of the incident has the same.
Lastly, but most importantly, you know your truth. Just represent what happened in a way that is authentic to you and do not to be intimidated, we’re here to ease the process for you.
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