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By | May 26, 2008 29 Comments

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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rperk6069

I wish I would have known this a long time ago, but even so, it costs more money which alot of us just don’t have especially in the aftermath of a psychopath.

I know cellphone companies will provide reports such as text messages etc. And you can block anonymous numbers. I woul dthink the phone bill would provide proff you did not talk with Psycho– just shows incoming #s and time.

Sorry, I thought it wa sunder “Change your profile” but I can’t login there. I am sure Donna will reply.

Ox Drover

It does sound like a good product, and courts willusually use phone bills to prove calls, BUT with the “throw away” phones so cheap and available and UNTRACEABLE to a specific person (maybe the FBI could trace some of them but I’m not even sure of that, I know the local police generally don’t have manpower etc to do it or even try) so even the Speechphone wouldn’t help on that.

Video survelience is coming down in price and can be radioed or sent over wires to your computer, with motion sensing etc.. Some areas let you TAP YOUR OWN phone legally with just YOU knowing it is tapped. My area allows recording of calls. Of course answering machines record voice messages which if they are from the P should be KEPT, along with all faxes, or e mails and all texts.

IN the US STALKING is now a crime if you have enough evidence or witnesses. If someone is really intent on hurting you, though, a restraining order is nothing more than a piece of paper, it is not bullet proof.

“When SECONDS count, remember, the police are only MINUTES AWAY”—DON’T count on anyone to protect you except yourself if you think you are in DANGER. Courts can’t do it, and neither can the police if they are DETERMINED to kill you. It may mean going into hiding if that is the case.

I think you need to be realistic about the “danger level” of your P—is s/he determined? is s/he just trying to get you to fall for his/her con again and harassing you? Or do you really really LOGICALLY FEAR HIM/HER?

I won’t live in TERROR again. I will live cautiously however. I KNOW what my son is capable of, I know what the Trojan HOrse P is capable of, I’m not afraid of the X-DIL, she doesn’t have the backbone by herself, she’ll move on to a new victim if she hasn’t already found one (I think she has). She doesn’t want to go back to jail/prison again. It will be much easier for her to just find a new guy (she’s not physically unattractive and she can “talk a good game”–I’m sure she is telling him how abused she was by her x-husband and his family, poor baby, and he will want to rescue her and take care of her I’m sure).

Being realistic about the level of the threat, and gathering evidence helps, but being cautious and self-reliant about your safety I think is a much better bet than depending on JUST a restraining order. Some psychopaths only see that as a CHALLENGE that they are ready to take up and get even with you for “embarassing” them. Only ones that are afraid of the law will abide by one.

Cheryl

I posted already today; however, I had police reports that were written after the ex left a threatening message. I got a temp. restraining order; which he violated by harrassing me by phone, in front of a cop! We went to court the following week and he showed up with an attorney, and after the judge asked him if he was intoxicated when he made those call, and he said I don’t know, don’t recall, she dismissed the restraining order. And the arrest warrant from his violating the order got squashed. There’s is no justice for me. He still calls me and blocks his number until all hours of the morning. I cannot change my number because I have my # on about 20 real estate signs.

gennyrabbit

just wondering. has anyone tried this service yet?

kat_o_nine_tales

I have never thought of it. With my first husband I made a lot of mistakes throwing out his threatening correspondence, but fortunately got an understanding judge. Even now I have a constant urge to get rid of the few nasty letters I have left. They feel like I’m keeping a little bit of his evil self in my house.

kat_o_nine_tales

Cheryl.. if you truly can’t change your number, maybe you could try the tactic of taking him back to court for every offense until he gets sick of it. Especially if you show up at court looking bored and unaffected by it all. They don’t like boring repeat games and they don’t like their masks taken off in public.

The problem when you try to get a restraining order for a woman sp, it can be very hard, but it can be done if you have good evidence, they keep doing the same crazy things.

alohatraveler

Cheryl,

I think you are saying that you can’t change your number because he would just get the new one off the sign. Can you use an office number to leave you messages in the future. Then keep your number private?

Can you use a phone ansering service like a Doctor would? Messages would get taken at al times of day and go ahead and let him leave you all the massage he wants because you will have a record taken for you by a professional service. :o)

It’s is very disappointing that the judge would ask him if he was drunk when he called. Why would she give him an out like that? OF COURSE HE WOULD TAKE IT! If I was the judge I would have said, “Please share with the court what you need to say to this woman so badly at all hours of the day.” Then I would slap the restraining order on him!

Trinity

Hi everyone, I never thought I would need a restraining order but I am beginning to feel threatened. My sociopath has been driving past my house late at night and watching me until I see him and than he drives away. There have been times I was outside walking and I got a threatening feeling and walked back toward my house it was dark out and all the sudden I received a text asking me why I went inside the house and it was him. I went back outside and he wrote me a couple more messages. He was on my street which is a dead end watching me from the woods. Another time he did this and I went outside and waved and asked what am I doing and he wrote waving. He lives so close he can walk to my home. Lately I have been receiving messages from him that go back and forth between “I miss you” to “I don’t care I let you down” to “I’m a liar I need you” and he has become more obsessive about it. He told me he doesn’t care if I’m not responding to him he will not stop. Right before I left he started showing signs of physical abuse by grabbing at me and throwing my things around and getting in my face to back me down. I get this horrible violent feeling from him. I don’t know if this is enough for a restraining order but I feel that I am in danger. Advice? Thank you for reading.

Indigoblue

TRINITY
DO IT ! No question! Injunction ! Document every message save every one ! Go start the process ASAP ! Court house , Domestic Violence assesment !

By the time I got an Emergency Injunction Granted , I was being Arrested ! For Tresspass ,the authorities would’nt help me so I had to leave my own home and camp in the woods but at least I was safe ! Once The Authorities where Court ordered to serve the injuction and the domestic violence was documented ! The Sherifs dept and city police went to my home so he was forced to leave ! not by them but he was paranoid with them comming and searching the house! He then jumped countys and they never did serve the injuction . I went to court 4 times once a month but they could’nt or would’nt find him! LOVE JJ

Ox Drover

Trinity,

I am not sure where you live, city or country, or US or some where else. Which state. LAws vary from place to place, and how safe you are depends on a lot of things. How much you can “defend yourself” is another thing determined by the laws you live under.

Number one: NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR SAFETY

Number two: an order of protection (or wahtever they cal it in your area) is only a legal piece of paper. Good, but it may not stop him.

Get the order, gather the evidence, keep the text messages and report him to the police IMMEDIATELY. Tell them YOU ARE AFRAID, MAKE THE BELIEVE YOU.

Then, make sure that your house is secure as much as possible, dead bolt locks. GEt a yappy dog if you can, or better yet, GO STAY WITH A FRIEND. or GET SOMEONE TO STAY WITH YOU IF POSSIBLE, or if you still feel threatened (by the way DO NOT POO POO YOURSELF ABOUT BEING AFRAID AND TRY TO TALK YOURSELF OUT OF IT)

All else fails, go to a shelter.

Only the fact that I realized my home was not defensible and that it was not worth much to me if I was dead, I left my home, thinking I might never be able to return home. I am back home now, and the Ps are in prison, but if that had not been possible I would have never come home unless I felt safe to do so.

Many women WITH protection orders have been killed or seriously hurt. Keep that in mind. And YES I am trying to make you paranoid. Just cause you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you!

In most places the police are better now about listening to wives and victims of domestic abuse, not always, but most places.

Take all threats seriously. He is trying to scare you. Do not text him back, do not listen to his messages, do not respond. He may not stop but it is important that you not respond. ANY response at all is a “reward” for him and encourages him to continue.

One pretty good “weapon” that is effective, cheap and legal, is a can of OVEN SPRAY. It is made out of pure lye and will cause horrible pain if sprayed on the face of an attacker. Get the kind that stinks to high heaven, put a can with thelid off (if you have no small children) in every room in your house, and keep a can in your hand if you are outside. Try not to go outside after dark or alone. If you need to use it, AIM FOR THE FACE.

I will keep you in my prayers, please be safe! (((hugs))))

Indigoblue

Straight bleach works good too , in a jet spray bottle , you can get pepper sprays at the spy store! Yappy dog Bahumbug get a ROTTWEILER from the pound or an akita or a shepard or a dobi,bullmastif, rodesian ridgeback, afriggin pit bull! I want a dog so bad LOVE JJ

Trinity

Hi OxDrover, thank you so much for your message. I live in New York and I am not aware all the rules here for a restraining order but I am seriously considering one after what has happened the last couple months and today. It has been over 2 weeks no contact and for 24 hours he continued to harrass me with messages and calling. I couldnt take it anymore and I know I am stupid for doing this I answered his last call and said what do you want? He said he wanted to talk and I said whatever you have to say say it over the phone. He refused and said I need to talk in person and its 11pm at night here. I told him no he was going to talk on the phone and he refused. I asked what he wanted and all he kept saying was he missed me a lot. He sounded insane on the phone and I could hear him trying to make his voice sound sincere. He just wanted me to go out alone and meet him which I had done before many times but not when he was acting insane. I feel stupid for answering him but I couldn’t take it anymore after 24 hours. I have a horrible feeling about him and I do feel threatened. Everytime I go outside since he lives so close I am looking over my shoulder. I feel in danger and I am afraid I did more harm than good answering his call and I am mad at myself now. His call proved to me though this is serious because the phone wasn’t good enough and he wanted me alone in the middle of the night. I ended it with I need to think. I feel crazy this is really starting to get to me. I thought I was strong and able to do this but I feel weak and scared right now. I will keep in mind everything you said and your prayers mean a lot thank you.

Trinity

Hi Indigoblue, thank you for all your support. That’s horrible what happened to you. I’m glad your safe and was strong enough to stand up for yourself. I’m scared about going to the police but I think its the righ thing to do I am more scared of him than anything else. A guard dog sounds good to me I would feel a lot more safe. I think since he lives in walking distance I am more paranoid. Thanks again.

Indigoblue

Insane : I learned that if he was drunk nothing I said made any difference! the only thing I could do was to leave. The last time I left I had to call the sherifs dept and meet them at a church and go w/them to my house. he had called my phone repeatedly. When they got there they had three officers . as two questioned him the other looked around the house and kitchen . He took the largest butcher knife and put it back in the drawer. MY psyco. was given the option to leave or go to hotel . he left returned and he was Baker acted for the upteeth time. I was left with the mess and a busted front window. that was cheap only 265.00 good thing the doors held LOVE JJ

Trinity

I feel hypnotized and I dont understand why and what is wrong with me…. everyone around me just says to move on but they have no idea how I feel… how it feels to battle yourself like this… this is horrible. I feel horrible ::cries::

Stargazer

Everyone around you has never dealt with a psychopath and they don’t understand what you are going through. I’m with Oxy on this. Get out and go to a shelter. You need to be safe. And you also need to be able to sleep at night. If there is any way you can have a police presence around, like to help you move your things out or just to cruise around the area, try to get them to do it.

Trinity

I changed my phone number so now he can’t call or message me anymore… WOOOOO! Thats a start. After he realized I wasn’t going outside in the middle of the night to “talk” to him he hung up on me and wouldn’t answer. It was a game to him and I didn’t give him what he wanted. I am sorry I answered him but it just proves to me how sick and evil he really is and now he can’t reach me unless in person.

Ox Drover

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!!!!

pearl

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.

kat_o_nine_tales

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.

ErinBrock

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!!!

Ox Drover

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

ErinBrock

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.

Ox Drover

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

hehadme39

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.

ErinBrock

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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