If you have experienced a crime, it is important to preserve evidence of the offence for investigative and criminal proceedings. This includes, above all, material evidence like traces, photos, instrumentalities etc.
General preservation of evidence
Material evidence will normally be preserved by the police responsible for the execution of the investigative proceedings in coordination with the public prosecution office. In order to successfully use the evidence in investigative and criminal proceedings, standards for preserving evidence have been specified for the police and the public prosecution office. These standards are intended to prevent the evidence from being distorted and to enable a further investigation of the evidence.
After preserving evidence, the police must always initiate investigative proceedings. This is done irrespective of the fact as to whether you as the aggrieved person want the initiation and continuation of the proceedings.
Preservation of evidence without criminal charge
As a victim of domestic violence or a sexual offence, you may be in an exceptional physical and mental situation in which you are not willing or able to file a charge. Perhaps, you will need advice, support or time to think it over. What can you do? It is important to preserve and expertly document the objective traces of the offence (sperm etc.) and injuries (haematomas etc.) as soon as possible after the crime in order to prevent this evidence from being lost for subsequent investigative and criminal proceedings. You can have the traces preserved and your injuries documented professionally so that they can be used in criminal proceedings. In Lower Saxony, this is done by Rechtsmedizin der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover (Institute of Forensic Medicine of Hanover Medical School) and the hospitals cooperating with this institute.
Additional comparable projects in Germany are listed on the website of terres des femmes.