Mediators' perspectives on the Ontario family mediation process and its potential impact on abused women and children's education
O'Loughlin-Pepin, Robyn Alexandria
SubjectMediation in Ontario family law
Issues of mediation with abusers
Regulation of mediators
Effects of divorce and violence on children's education
Roles of children in mediation
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This research focused on the perspectives of seven mediators in Thunder Bay on what will happen to abused women if the mandatory mediation information program is actually implemented into the divorce process in Northwestern Ontario as well as speculation on the potential effects of mediation on children’s educational achievement. Utilizing a qualitative and feminist methodology, the study revealed that Ontario family law rules are not universally implemented because attendance at the new mandatory information session is not legally required in Thunder Bay. Furthermore, the study revealed that mediators and the mediation process are under regulated with no government-created political body monitoring how mediators run their practice. Mediators in this study revealed that they would conduct mediation with high-risk couples using shuttle mediation or involving external experts, but high-risk couples, such as an abuser and victim, should not mediate given power imbalances. Children involved directly or indirectly in the mediation process may be affected in various ways, including their ability to concentrate on schoolwork. Mediators need training on how to mediate divorces of high-risk couples safely and effectively, including specific procedures for children’s participation. Further, policymakers in the province of Ontario need to consider how the failure to oversee mediation is a problem with potentially devastating consequences.
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