Preserving Digital Evidence Toolkit

This toolkit helps women, youth, gender-diverse people, and frontline workers preserve digital evidence in circumstances involving technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV). It acts as a guide to learn about the laws and best practices surrounding digital evidence preservation and the potential use of this evidence in cases involving technology-facilitated violence. It may be read on its own, or in combination with the Legal Remedies for Technology Facilitated Violence Toolkit.

Technology misuse is becoming an increasingly common component of gender-based violence. Technology is not the problem; the problem is the underlying pattern of violent and misogynist behaviour that presents itself in digital forms. Because of the prevalence of technological devices today, their use can extend the reach of the abuse, but also leave a trail of digital evidence that can be used strategically in safety planning and as evidence in legal proceedings.

Digital evidence can contain information that may help prove that technology-facilitated violence occurred. However, because digital evidence is easily deleted or manipulated, it is important to collect it promptly and accurately. This type of evidence, if preserved properly, can support a civil or criminal legal case and result in a perpetrator being held accountable for their actions.

A Note on Language

In this toolkit, we will sometimes use the word woman/women and feminine pronouns for simplicity and to recognize the significant impact technology-facilitated violence has on women and girls. We recognize that TFGBV also impacts trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit people. We hope that all people impacted by TFGBV will find these documents useful.

Word of Caution

This toolkit is available as read-only on this website with an option to download the PDF versions of each document. If you are reading this toolkit on a device that may be monitored by your abuser, do not download the PDF versions as they will automatically save in your downloads folder. If you think that someone is monitoring your phone, use a different device that the person cannot access (and that they have not had access to in the past), such as a computer at a library or a friend's phone. You can also use to find a shelter/transition house near you to discuss options with an anti-violence worker.

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