Lisa Parkinson, Family mediation trainer
Experienced practitioners in family law or social work may assume that mediation training involves a quick dip in familiar waters (apologies for the pun) in order to acquire an additional qualification as a mediator. However, eight days of foundation training are insufficient to develop the wide range of knowledge and skills that family mediators need to draw from in assisting participants to manage conflict, communicate better and settle any or all issues, including financial and property issues linked with arrangements for children and young people who have needs and rights of their own. The required content of foundation training in mediation continues to grow, but extending the course is constrained by financial costs and commercial competition. Additional areas that foundation training must now cover include screening for domestic abuse and child protection, assessing levels of conflict, power imbalances and the suitability of mediation, mediating online, and explaining opportunities for child-inclusive mediation and the benefits reported by children and young people themselves. A review of mediation training is needed which will hopefully lead to higher standards, tighter regulation and more creative approaches.
The full article will be published in the August issue of Family Law.