Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Paula Green

Abstract

This paper seeks to answer the proposed question: whether mediation can be an appropriate option for intimate partners with a history of domestic violence. I investigated that question through qualitative research and personal reflection. Using the questions raised by researchers in the fields of mediation and domestic violence victim advocacy, I developed interview questions to ask practitioners I have come to know through my own work as staff in a community mediation program.

The most common argument against mediation as appropriate with domestic violence (DV) is safety of the victim. Analysis reveals that , overall, the only dependable experts on safety in mediation may be the clients themselves. Until the recent decade, the mediation field has not honored their choices, and instead has mandated mediation in court or denied services to those who seemed to have a history of domestic violence. Now, however, some innovative programs are finding that party choice may be the best way to make mediation a safe option for intimate partners with a history of DV.

I begin this paper with a short introduction to the current state of intimate partner mediation, also called family mediation, and its involvement with domestic violence, and the opposing opinions that this state has created. I will then discuss three differing approaches to mediation currently in use with domestic relations, and their important influence on the proposed question. I will continue by examining some of the arguments raised against and for mediation with intimate partners who may have a history of DV. I will conclude this paper by exploring some of the options available to mediators and the courts in order to set up a safe and effective domestic relations mediation programs.

Disciplines

Counseling Psychology

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