Why do you need evidence?
If you have to report an access failing or make a complaint at any level, it is helpful to have evidence of the problems you faced. This helps organisations to see the issue and makes it harder for them to deny your experiences (which does often happen).
If your complaint goes as far as court, Judges often do not understand disabled people’s lives and the problems we face with access. Therefore, the more evidence you can show the court, in simple ways they can understand, the better.
Collect as much evidence as early as possible
At Reasonable Access, our advice is to collect as much evidence as possible. If you experience a type of access barrier on a regular basis, plan how you can quickly and easily gather evidence about it as part of your everyday life. Sometimes it is not possible to collect evidence at the time of the incident, but if you can collect and record evidence (perhaps with someone to support you) as soon as possible after the incident the evidence can still be very useful.
Types of evidence
- Evidence can come in many forms including:
- Photographs or videos of a barrier, such as steps or signage at the time or at a provable time soon after. Showing measurements is also helpful.
- Copies (photographs, screenshots or scans) of tickets for travel or an event (or related to the event).
- Copies of emails or letters you send and receive about the issue.
- Recordings of telephone calls (if recording is not possible, make dated and signed notes about the call and consider following up with the organisation by email with ‘your understanding of what was discussed and agreed’ during the call).
- Video or audio recordings of any interactions.
- Contact details of any people who witnessed any incidents.
- Screenshots or saved copies of webpages (should show website address and if possible something showing date/time) and completed webforms (always keep a copy of the text you sent).
- Anything else that truthfully shows what impact the access failing had on you during and after the event (this can be both practical and emotional).
- Relevant policies and procedures from the organisation.
If you have a witness to the incident, if possible ask them to record their honest memory of what happened as possible afterwards with a date and signature on the document. Witnesses should be very honest about what events they did not see, hear or remember, as they may be challenged on this. Witnesses can also document their opinion about how an event affected you afterwards.
If you have to go to court, you should find out whether your witness will agree to give a formal legal written witness statement and come to court to give evidence in person.