Diary or Journal Entries


  • Cover letter explaining why you started keeping a journal

  • Some examples of journal entries - highlight the most important ones for your case here.

  • The entire journal if you have it

  • General advice

    • If you’re starting the journal now, make sure you keep it as detailed as possible including times, dates, places, incidents and how they affected you emotionally and physically.

    • Online journal advice: Include a print-out or link to all online entries.

    • Offline journal advice: Take a picture of the journal and submit it as evidence but write up the important journal entries separately so understanding the handwriting is not a problem.


Keeping an online or offline diary can be useful for many reasons, including:

  • keeping a log of what happened to you and when so no one can make you think you’re ‘imagining it’ and you can stay on top of the details.

  • keeping a record of little incidents that may not feel like they amount to much if you think about it in the moment but when you look back it, may prove the controlling and persistent nature of the abuser.

  • presenting it in court to validate your claim, and this is specially if abuse has happened over a long period of time.

In the cover letter, explain when you started keeping the diary and what triggered it. It does not matter if the journal was online, offline, frequent, or infrequent. If you are just beginning to keep your journal, make sure make sure you keep it as detailed as possible including times, dates, places, incidents and how they affected you emotionally and physically.

If you have an offline diary and you are afraid the abuser might discover and destroy it - take a picture of the important entries and email it to someone you trust. Always keep it hidden somewhere where no one can find it and write in it only when you know you are not being watched.

In the cover letter, highlight the most important entries and all the entries that corroborate events from your personal and supporting statements. Make sure you add the evidence numbers next to the pages concerned so you can quote them.

Separately, you should print out all entries or load them onto a file and submit it if it was an online diary. In the case of an offline diary, you should transcribe the important incidents from the diary and include the physical copy of the diary. If you’ve lost your diary or it has been destroyed, include the pictures you took of the journal entries as they prove to the existence of the diary.


“The first week I moved in with my then boyfriend I started taking notes of his behaviour on Penzu. I thought he was just a perfectionist. After two weeks I sat him down and showed him my notes. I had written 53 "rules" of the house he had given me. I said, "do you realize this is what you're asking? Don't you think this is too much." "Nope, that’s right" he said. And from there he got more and more controlling, name calling, physically intimidating. I had no job and no money and I was stuck. But I kept taking notes on my private journal- writing all my feelings down, all the feelings he was disregarding. That journal helped me keep grounded when he tried to make me think I was crazy. When I finally got a job, I was able to see an emergency therapist and told her everything. "This man is abusive and I would get out before you don't have the strength to get out." I got a police escort to gather all my belonging while he was at work, and went to the local DV shelter. It was so helpful to have all those notes saved electronically. They used them in court and I know it helped getting the restraining order granted. The judge said it was one of the worst cases he's heard, and that he'd seen hundreds of cases.” A courageous girl

Last updated