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Help in gathering evidence for a restraining order

“D” Spotwell knows the frustration of trying to get a restraining order. She had a violent husband (currently serving a life sentence, which is why I’m not using her first name) and another relationship that turned into stalking. She went to court numerous times to get restraining orders, complaining of telephone harassment. She left court empty-handed. Why? Because she had no evidence of the harassing calls.

Spotwell has since learned how to get proof of telephone harassment that a judge will usually accept. Now, she’s helping women (and men) in similar situations.

Spotwell is a representative for a telephone answering system called SpeechPhone. This is essentially a computer technology that screens all incoming calls, relays the calls to you, asks you if you want to take the call, and if not, records a message from the caller.

SpeechPhone is often marketed to businesses as a way to make sure important calls and messages are never missed. The service uses speech-recognition technology, so callers can just say the person or department they want, rather than punching in extension numbers or weeding through a menu.

SpeechPhone is also marketed to individuals. The main benefit is that you only need one phone number—not a work number, home number, cell number. You tell the system which phone you are currently using. Or, the system can search for you—if you don’t answer one phone number, it tries the next.

The company itself does not promote SpeechPhone as a tool to gather evidence in domestic violence or child custody conflicts. But it’s an application of the technology that Spotwell has found to work.

Court evidence

Here is why the telephone service can help you get a restraining order: It logs all incoming calls, it informs a caller that he or she is being recorded, and it keeps all messages. All this information is available over the Internet—which a judge can access during a hearing.

“It saves the verbal message,” Spotwell says. “The log shows the date and time. If a judge clicks on the call, he can hear the message.” Plus, the system records the fact that you refused to answer a call. This helps you prove that you really do not want to speak to the person who is harassing you.

The system can also record text messages, e-mails and faxes. Everything is logged with a date and time.

Spotwell explains that if you try to get the police to trace your calls, sometimes it takes awhile for them to get started. And, they cannot keep a trace on a phone line indefinitely.

Spotwell says she’s helped hundreds of women. “I’m teaching people to protect themselves at all times,” she says. “When he calls your phone, you’re showing the judge that you don’t want to be an abuse victim. You don’t have to take the call; you can let it roll over to voice mail. And you have documented proof.”

Selling the service

Yes, Spotwell is selling this service. A couple of weeks ago, she posted information about it in comments on the Lovefraud Blog. Several people contacted me to report it as spam, and I deleted the postings. Then Spotwell called me to apologize—she said she was just trying to get the word out so she could help the victims of domestic violence. As a blog newbie, she didn’t realize her posts looked like spam.

Spotwell also says she encourages domestic violence survivors to become sales representatives for the company. “It’s a self-employment opportunity. They can come into the phone company business and sell to anyone,” Spotwell says. “I do work from a laptop and advertise on the web.”

To find out more about the service, call Spotwell at 714-649-5161. Calls, of course, are screened through through her own SpeechPhone service, so she feels comfortable posting her phone number. (SpeechPhone is available in the U.S. only.)

Disclaimer: I have not actually tried this service, but based on my years of writing marketing materials for telephone and technology companies, SpeechPhone looks legitimate. SpeechPhone also calls itself a “Christian-based direct sales company.” I have no opinion regarding its religious orientation.


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29 Comments on "Help in gathering evidence for a restraining order"

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Dear Trinity,

Beating yourself up for answering his call isn’t productive at this point, so let that go, Dear Trinity. But keep the LESSON from it. I don’t know him and you do, so be careful physically. Move if you can or visit someone away for a while. Try not to be in an area where he could find you alone.

I’m fortunate in some ways in that I am able to go armed if I feel the need to do so, and I don’t live alone (my youngest son has lived with me during all this chaos) and now my oldest son has returned home to live with us as well, so I have two “body guards.” (literally). But I did live in a hidden location for 6 months before I felt safe to return home.

I realize because my P son and his friend the Trojan Horse psychpath were out to kill me, I am more than “average” in the paranoia department. LOL I hope he is just a blustering jerk trying to frighten you or hook you back into his web. They son’t like losing CONTROL and don’t generally take “losing” well at all. My P son is big on revenge, my P-bio-father was also big on revenge, and my P-xBF was big on revenge (he burned down the house of the XGF before me while he was dating me!)

You have some advantages really by living in a city where there are people around and the cops shouldn’t be far away.

I won’t live in TERROR again, but I do live cautiously and don’t trust the Ps at all. I’ve taken back my POWER, and my self confidence but at the same time I sure don’t want to get “cocky” and think there’s no way they can get to me. So the operative word is CAUTION. All the things they tell you about how to protect yourself are all good advice and worth remembering. My son waited for years and put a complex plan into operation to get to me, all the while trying to make me unaware of his real rage and intentions. So just don’t let your guard down or start to feel too safe and give him an opportunity by not remaining alert. Don’t live in TERROR but keep your eyes open. I think the taking back your emotional POWER, your self confidence, and trusting in yourself to make good decisons and wise decisions is the biggest key to it all.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You should also have access to some support groups there, or good counselors by virtue of living in a large city. I have also heard some “improvement” (or whatever word you want to use) in your posts, I can hear the strength returning to you. Love fraud I think, and knowing you aren’t alone, helps this tremendously! Most of us have at one time or another been “insane with fear and confusion” and I can “hear” that passing in your posts. Hang in there and take back your power, your strength! You are an awesome woman! TOWANDA!!!!

If you feel threatened, I suggest you try to get a Temporary Restraining Order (or whatever it’s called in NY). It shouldn’t be too difficult to get one. There are usually several different ways to get one–by hiring an attorney, or if there’s a legal service outfit (free or low cost) that’s in your area try it, or get a friend or relative to go with you to the police station and see if they have the forms and will let you complete them yourself.

The Temporary order will only last a couple of weeks or so, until a hearing can be set for the longer-lasting Restraining Order. (Or maybe he’ll calm down by then and you won’t even need the longer term order.)

Glad to hear you changed phone numbers. Remember NO CONTACT. Keep in mind, he doesn’t think like you. It’s not likely that he really misses you and wants a relationship like “normal” people have. Normal ment don’t “sound insane” as you said, and don’t cause people to “feel threatened” or give people a “horrible violent feeling” as you posted. It’s more likely that he has an attachment disorder which led to a personality disorder which YOU CAN’T FIX.

So, like everyone says, don’t get caught up in his games. NO CONTACT.

Also, if you’re still at home, ask the police to drive by your house (at the time of day or night you’re most concerned about) and explain why.

We’ve been where you are, yes it’s scary and bizarre, but you can work your way through it. Be safe and take care of YOU!!! Do what you need to feel strong–prayers, good luck token in your pocket, whatever gives you strength.

Keep us posted on what steps you’re taking to protect yourself and to separate yourself from him.

Letting go.. what a concept.. why is that such a problem for us.. could it be one of the main reasons we are targeted is that we hang in there with the people we love beyond the point where we should?

I know I do. I get teased at school about the amount of crap I put up with from my ex-husband.. but he’s basically a good man, unlike the other former men in my life.. and our son really depends heavily on both of us.. still I kind of dread how hurt he will be when he finally realizes I am totally over him and really don’t enjoy having any contact with him at all.

Thought I’d post this link on how divorce attornies use FB and other online info against someone in court.

http://www.rgj.com/article/20100629/BIZ/100629018

All of these sites have helped me gather and use info against all 3 of the spaths i’ve encountered in court. (One romantic, two business)

This info is REAL easy to gain access to …….all you need is the internet!
The more tenacity you have, the more info you can find…..take the time, if it’s important to you!
It can show character and activities a judge will certainly listen to.
It will most certainly contradict what spath is portraying in court…..and they wrote it themselves!!! 🙂 CLASSIC!

We must be careful ‘how’ it is presented…..and what parts we use.
We can’t use it as jelous jabs….only factual on behaviors on issues we are trying to prove.

Good luck to those divorcing or in a legal battle with a spath….there ARE things out there (that spaths put out there themselves) that we can utelize to ‘bury’ them in court!!!

EB, great old thread! Good job bringing it back up. Lots of old friends from LF–wonder how they are now! Good advice too.

Also…..you know when we get those ‘great’ evites?
Well…..DO NOT ENTER A PROFILE there either!!!
NO ONLINE PROFILES!!!!!

Once a profile is entered…..any party / event your invited to will be broadcast across the web….on other social sites you may belong to also…..
Spaths LOVE to make profiles…..nice high falutant ones….showing off, bragging blah blah……they want everyone to know who/what/when they are…..
and it bites em in the ars!!!

It is nice to use those ones in court when needed.

EB, I wanna be like you when I grow up!!!!!! ((((hugs)))))

For those of you who can’t afford to pay for a service like this check out Google voice. I recently expreinced the devistation of a psychopath and started using the service. I can archive any voice msg, log missed calls, archive txts too. everything is date and time stamped as well. Just helpful info.

Hehadme:
I don’t know anything about the service you mention above.
BUT….I do know that google does collect an immense amount of data on thier users.
I would only caution with that.
I think…knowing google, it may be a way to develop a database of cell phone numbers, which currently doesn’t exist.

Just remember….NOTHING ever comes for free.
So make sure the back end ‘cost’ doesn’t outweigh the benefit.

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