Family Mediation Week – Myth: you can't attend family mediation if you have been a victim of domestic violence
There aren't many hard and fast rules in mediation because each situation is usually unique to its own facts. The key thing to know here is that if you enter family mediation the mediator will set up an initial meeting with each party on their own as a first step. This enables the mediator to get some background information from each person in a safe and confidential space. If there has been domestic violence, emotional or financial abuse or coercive control in your relationship then the mediator will gently explore this with you. Once those meetings have taken place the mediator will then make an assessment about whether mediation is a safe and suitable process for you to use.
They may decide it isn't in which case mediation cannot go any further and the mediator will signpost you to alternative options. The mediator may decide that mediation could go ahead if certain safeguards are put in place. This might include meeting online only, or in separate rooms (either online or in person) or ensuring one party arrives for the mediation before the other and leaves before the other party.
It is the mediator that makes this assessment so whilst other people might tell you your case isn't suitable for mediation it's best to let a trained mediator do that assessment.
The mediator will look at what has happened between you in the past but also what has happened since separation and will be looking at the risks of you both being present in the same mediation meeting (whether that's online or in person). The risks are not just about physical safety but also about your general wellbeing – for example, if attending mediation meetings might cause someone to develop worsening anxiety, or panic attacks then it's unlikely to be appropriate to start joint meetings.
Where there were issues that were caused by the toxic nature of a relationship parties who are now separated may feel safe in the mediation space with the mediator present and comfortable exploring issues together with the mediator's assistance. The safety and appropriateness of mediation is always kept under review and the mediator will be alert to any changes in the situation that might change their original assessment of the risks.
For more information, please call us on 01273694661
Source: Whitney, L https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/2022/01/17/family-mediation-week-mondays-myth-you-cant-attend-family-mediation-if-you-have-been-a-victim-of-domestic-violence/