Jane and David met with a mediator in a confidential assessment meeting ( Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting), and wished to mediate on all issues, including property, finance and child matters. Jane had discussed, in her sole confidential meeting, that she suffered domestic abuse both during the relationship and on one occasion since their separation 2 years previously. There had been limited police involvement. Jane wanted to try mediation but was unsure whether she could be in the same room as David.
David, in his confidential meeting, described a volatile relationship. He confirmed that he was arrested on one occasion. He saw his son at the maternal grandmother’s home infrequently.
Despite the domestic abuse, since Jane and David wanted to try mediation, the mediator agreed that mediation could proceed by way of a 'shuttle mediation', with Jane and David each being in separate rooms, with the mediator moving between the rooms in order to provide a safe space to enable them to have indirect negotiations.
The three mediation sessions enabled Jane and David to reach a set of agreements, enabling d their son to remain in the family home, and settling finances. They were able to agree consistent and regular arrangements as to how David would see his son.
Shuttle mediation can be helpful where there is a need to provide a safe space. We ensured that they both understood the layout before commencing, and the start times, and that there was no possibility of meeting unless they chose to do so.
We also ensured that, during all stages of mediation, information was provided about services that provide advice and support around domestic abuse.
It is important to highlight that mediation will not always be a suitable process for people who have been affected by domestic abuse. The priority is always to ensure that the individuals, and any children affected, are safeguarded. Due to possible safeguarding concerns, domestic abuse is an exemption from the need to mediate before seeking a court order.
Support for those affected by domestic violence can be found at www.leewaysupport.org