What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a problem solving process in which a neutral professional (the mediator) facilitates communication between individuals involved in a conflict. The mediator does not determine guilt or innocence. The mediator helps the participants make agreements and develop a plan to resolve their situation.
Have Formal Charges Been Filed?
Yes, the case comes to the Mediation Services Department after a complaint has been brought to Juvenile Court and charges have been filed.
The purpose of mediation is to give the participants the opportunity to solve the conflict themselves with the assistance of the mediator.
The mediator does not make any decisions for the participants. The mediator is there to help the participants come to an agreement that works for of them.
How Does Mediation Work?
The Mediation process begins when Mediation Services receives a case referral from either a court official, a prosecutor, a judge, or a magistrate. Mediation Services schedules the case and mails notices to the parties explaining that mediation has been scheduled. Telephone contact is then made with the parties to explain the process, answer any questions, and address any pre-mediation concerns.
On the day of the mediation, all participants come to the Mediation Services Department on the 3rd Floor at 373 S. High Street to meet with the mediator. The mediator begins by explaining the mediation process and laying grounds rules for the discussions. Each person is given an opportunity to be heard and to respond to the others at the mediation table.
Each person relates his/her perspective of what happened and answers questions about the incident. As needed during a session, participants may meet individually with the mediator. The mediator assists the participants in generating and exploring options to resolve issues in a mutually agreeable way. If the participants can come to terms on a resolution, the agreement is written by the mediator and signed by the participants. Each participant receives a copy of the signed agreement.
What about Confidentiality?
The only information the mediator shares with the Court is the outcome of the mediation. The mediator is not permitted to share other information with the Court or give the Court a copy of the Agreement reached in mediation without the consent of all the participants. The only exception is that a mediator may be required to report new allegations of abuse or neglect of a child, threats of bodily harm and information about certain crimes.
How Long Will Mediation Take?
The mediation session will last anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the issues that are being mediated. The participants may meet for only one session or may be asked to return for additional sessions.
The Mediated Agreement
Any agreement that is reached must be voluntary on the part of all of the participants. No agreement will be signed unless all of the participants are satisfied with all statements contained in the agreement.
What if No Agreement Is Reached?
If no agreement is reached, the case will be returned to the Court Diversion Office or to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office.
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