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Reassessing Family Law Mediation: Addressing Domestic Abuse and Power Imbalances for Enhanced Victim Protection

Reassessing Family Mediation: Addressing Domestic Abuse and Power Imbalances for Enhanced Victim Protection

Situations that involve domestic abuse should receive more consideration at the time of family law conflicts. The court continues the mandated rule without giving this situation any thought, saying that couples who have been victims of domestic abuse can arbitrate their conflicts. The vagueness of the mediation legislation is the reason for the inability to put rules intended to safeguard victims of domestic abuse into action. However, the power dynamics within a relationship can still cause problems for mediation, particularly if one spouse has abused the other.[1] The lack of clarity surrounding the phrases domestic violence and mediation among court staff, litigants, and attorneys makes it more difficult for lawyers and courts to screen for domestic abuse and educate clients on the dangers of mediation for those in violent relationships.

To reframe and enhance comprehension of the meaning of "domestic violence" and "mediation" in this context, the dangers of mediating instances with power imbalances, including domestic violence,. It also outlines the agreement among juries and scholars that, to protect victims, domestic abuse cases need to be handled differently in the mediation setting. The essay examines statutes, court procedures, and current research that indicates notable shortcomings in the efficient application of these laws. To close the knowledge gap between theory and practice and provide victims of domestic abuse with more protection and empowerment, it makes recommendations for how courts and solicitors should screen for domestic violence. Through family mediation, families in conflict may resolve their issues and decide on a course of action that will enhance communication and decision-making within the family. [2]Family mediators follow a code of practice that guarantees adherence to the fundamentals of mediation and are highly qualified and recognized by professional associations. The variety of institutional forms connected to conciliation is also covered in the essay, with mediation emerging as the most popular method of third-party involvement.

Enhancing Family Mediation in Domestic Abuse Cases

In the resolution of issues that separate disputants, family mediation seeks to promote collaborative decision-making between them. It is not the same as other forms of assistance, such as therapy, counseling, or treatment, which concentrate on providing for urgent practical needs and fostering emotional connections. Although this difference is not usually upheld as the techniques for crisis intervention, viewpoints from family therapy and family restructuring are all part of the process. The level of family breakup must be considered while evaluating these hybrid kinds of interventions. Prompt actions are crucial; when the current crisis passes, alternative protocols could be used. Counseling and support are useful in the early stages, but by the latter stages, the parties may be too sad and furious to talk about specifics.

Mediation is one of the essential steps when it comes to family law, especially where there has been domestic abuse. Without the assistance of statutory authorities or courts, it can assist both parties in resolving their issues and prevent drawn-out legal disputes or contentious letters. Refusing to victimize people again and increasing the likelihood of agreements sticking to the original terms are two benefits of mediation. In addition, it may assist people in coming up with fresh ideas as their family's demands evolve, producing long-term advantages and financial savings for the general public. But there are advantages and disadvantages to the growing use of mediation in family law matters, especially where there is domestic abuse present.[3] Courts must acknowledge the significance of this matter and establish efficient, organized, and recurring screening mechanisms to ascertain which cases are suitable for mediation. This "appropriateness" screen should be conducted during the mediation session, starting with the victims' first interactions. The legal system is not the only body with authority over these kinds of processes; attorneys representing women who have been abused, lay advocates, and mental health specialists may all be beneficial in advising clients on the suitability of mediation. When implemented appropriately, a multitude of screens featuring many sources and viewpoints can assist battered women and the legal system in making well-informed judgments.[4]


[1] O’Connor, Pádraig. “Family Mediation.” The Furrow, vol. 48, no. 10, 1997, pp. 537–41. JSTOR, Accessed February 8, 2024.

[2] Cubitt, Rosanne. “FAMILY MEDIATION.” A Guide to Mediating in Scotland, edited by EWAN A MALCOM and FIONA B O’DONNELL, Edinburgh University Press, 2009, pp. 95–102. JSTOR, Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

[3] MURPHY, JANE C., and ROBERT RUBINSON. “Domestic Violence and Mediation: Responding to the Challenges of Crafting Effective Screens.” Family Law Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 1, 2005, pp. 53–85. JSTOR, Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

[4] Roberts, Simon. “Mediation in Family Disputes.” The Modern Law Review, vol. 46, no. 5, 1983, pp. 537–57. JSTOR, Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.


  • Family mediation combines shared decision-making with counseling and crisis intervention, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of family conflicts.
  • Mediation is vital in family law, especially in cases of domestic abuse, facilitating issue resolution, averting prolonged legal battles, and reinforcing agreement compliance.
  • Efficient, recurrent screening during mediation is crucial, highlighting the importance for courts to establish systematic measures to determine the suitability of mediation.

BY : Vaishnavi Rastogi

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