Lisa Parkinson, Family mediation trainer
Family lawyers and mediators facilitate communication and co-operation between separated couples and parents, assisting them to resolve private matters themselves and avoid unnecessary resort to court proceedings. Lawyers and mediators work with and between different systems and sub-systems - private and public, adult-focused and child-focused. They work at the interface between these systems, assisting family members to collaborate safely, while also identifying when external support or safeguarding are needed. Current rates of domestic abuse and child abuse are extremely high. Family law professionals need to be skilled in picking up indications of vulnerability and making prompt referral for safeguarding or personal protection. Rather than one or two professionals from the same discipline working with a couple or family in isolation from other disciplines, support for family members needs to be planned and provided collaboratively via Family Hubs, alliances of professionals working with families and each other, in line with the recommendations of the Family Solutions Group. At another level, an analogy may be drawn between a collaborative, 'ecosystemic' approach to resolving family matters and the environmental work that is needed to conserve local and global ecosystems and reduce the harmful effects of climate change. This article suggests bringing this kind of perspective to work with families.
 Family Solutions Group What About Me? Reframing Support for Families following Parental Separation November 2020 https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/what-about-me-reframing-support-for-families-following-parental-separation
The full article will be published in the March issue of Family Law.