CONSULTING CHILDREN IN FAMILY MEDIATION
Information for parents & carers
Family mediation provides an opportunity for parents/carers to make future decisions about their children with the assistance of a trained mediator.
The purpose of the mediator seeing children in mediation is to give them a ‘voice’ rather than a ‘choice’ – the decision-making process will always remain with the adults.
Mediators do not consult children without the written consent of each parent/carer.
Mediation is a voluntary process and your children, and you, have the right not to take part or to withdraw at any stage, in which case these wishes will always be respected.
Our mediators are trained to work with both you and your children; their welfare is our priority.
When children are consulted they usually want the mediator to report back their thoughts and feelings to their family. However, the mediator will do this only if your children agree – if they do not give their consent the mediator will not break their confidence.
The only exception is if there are issues of risk or harm that would over-ride confidentiality. In such circumstances the mediator would have to consider contacting the appropriate authority as well as, or instead of, informing you. In practice these situations occur very rarely.
Sometimes children want to join at least part of a mediation session after they have met with the mediator. This also will be discussed with you before the consultation takes place.
Our experience is that child consultation works best where both parents/carers meet again with the mediator, even if there is no feedback from the children, so that they are able to decide together what to do next.
For this reason you will be asked to agree to attend a feedback meeting as part of the child consultation process.
Your mediator will be happy to give you more information about the consultation process and will discuss with you anything further you may wish to know.