Child Protection and Safeguarding
Family Mediation is a confidential process, but where there are concerns about the safety of a child, the protection of children overrides the principles of both confidentiality and parental decision-making. The mediator will explain this to you when you come for your first meeting, called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). You will also confirm that you understand this at the start of your first mediation session, when you sign an agreement to mediate.
Like all agencies that are directly or indirectly involved with the welfare and safeguarding of children, National Family Mediation providers must follow the child protection procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) in their area. If it appears to a mediator that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, they have a responsibility to report the information to an agency with statutory powers to investigate and protect children. This is normally a social services department.
Mediators do not have any powers to investigate child protection issues or reach decisions about whether a child has been harmed. But if you or your ex-partner raises concerns in a mediation session, the mediator will discuss these with you in more detail, to establish exactly what is being alleged and the details of what happened.
Once it seems that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm, a referral to social services must be made. The mediator will give the parent who has made the allegation an opportunity to make the referral themselves within that working day or by 10 am the next morning at the latest. Otherwise the mediator will make the referral as soon as possible. Mediation is unlikely to continue when safeguarding issues are under investigation.
If you have any concerns about a child you can:
- Contact the social services department for the address where the child is living. You will find details on your local council’s website.
- Contact the National NSPCC helpline, for further advice. The information will be passed to the local social services team if appropriate.
NFM is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family
If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can also contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.
All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.