MEDIATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES BETWEEN VICTIM AND OFFENDER: THE EXPERIENCE OF MEDIATORS

Arneta Klasinskaitė, Gražina Čiuladienė

Abstract


In many parts of the world, mediation process is used to resolve cases of damage compensation and other non-violent cases. The opposite position is taken in Lithuania: according to Lithuanian Probation service statistic data – 245 cases of domestic violence were referred to mediation in 2018. The study investigates both innovative and relevant topic, as the mediation process between victim and offender is relatively new process in Lithuania. From a practical point of view, the relevance of the topic is that in Lithuania assistance to victim and offender is usually conducted separately, which does not mean that conflicts and problems in the family are resolved. In this case, both parties to the conflict denied the opportunity to analyze their conflict, communicate with each other in a constructive manner and seek out the causes of the conflict or develop positive relationship in the future. Without removing unpleasant emotions, analyzing emerging conflicts and identifying the causes of the conflict, domestic violence can recur. All investigations related to mediation cases of domestic violence in the Lithuanian Probation service were carried out during the implementation of the project (2014-2016), which had initiated the mediation process in Lithuania. There is only a few literature and research specifically on the topic of domestic violence in mediation, and the need for this process is due to the high number of such cases in Probation service. There is a few information sources on the development of professionals and the success of the mediation process. The main questions are: do probation officers refer suitable cases for mediation? Are reached agreements through the mediation of domestic violence cases is in the immediate environment? What are the biggest challenges of mediating domestic violence cases? How mediators could be more effective in the process? The investigation has been initiated with these problematic issues, so the main object is mediation peculiarities of domestic violence between victim and offender in Lithuanian Probation service. The aim of the study is to analyze mediators‘ experience in mediating issues between victim and offender. Focus group discussion with mediators was implemented. Content analysis of the results revealed that there are different attitudes toward victim – offender mediation between mediators. However, practitioners do believe that the process is useful and important especially for the victim. Assessing the case suitability for mediation mediators rely on their impression of the aggressor, and they apply all the principles of mediation (ex. parties‘ willingness etc.). According to mediators‘ opinion the most helpful tactics are such as individual meetings, inviting to the session of those related persons, having the reflection.
The result might be useful for teachers and students of conflict management and alternative dispute resolution (mediation, negotiation). Also, for probation service mediators and officers who directly works with victims and offenders, as well as social workers, crisis center workers and for professionals who are working with families.

Keywords


victim, offender, mediation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SD-20-18-1-06

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789