Mediation in Family Violence Cases
Where family abuse / violence is an issue, mediation can still take place as long as all those involved feel safe and heard in a calm atmosphere.
If you are anxious about coming into contact with your ex-partner outside of the mediation session, your mediator can arrange for you to arrive and leave at separate times. You can also ask to wait separately from your ex-partner. These arrangements can be discussed at your first meeting, called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
The experience of being in the same room as your ex-partner can be stressful. If this prevents you concentrating on the session or speaking out as honestly as you’d want, you can ask for a break.
The way the mediator facilitates the sessions can encourage you both to develop a pattern of communication which is different to the one that characterised your relationship. The mediator will have ground rules they ask you to follow, such as taking turns to speak and listening to each other with respect. They will ensure you keep your discussion on areas that will help you solve problems, rather than reiterate old arguments. And if the levels of conflict rise too high, they will intervene and, if necessary, stop the session. It can be empowering for people who have experienced domestic abuse / violence to feel their views are given the space they deserve in mediation and have them taken into account in future arrangements.
Always bear in mind that Family Mediation is a voluntary process, and if it does not work for you as you’d hoped, you can leave and consider other options, such as making an application to court. Another alternative would be to speak to your mediator about shuttle mediation, which is where you and your ex-partner sit in separate rooms and the mediator moves between you. This is a difficult way of reaching agreement, but might work if the issues are relatively limited and specific.
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.