Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) has been providing dispute resolution services to the Canberra community for more than 30 years and continues to ensure its staff are qualified and accredited by the Mediator Standards Board in family dispute resolution. CRS chief executive officer Melissa Haley says knowing your mediator is qualified before beginning the mediation process is crucial.
“If you find yourself needing a mediator, make sure they are accredited by the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) through the Mediator Standards Board. The NMAS standards ensure mediators understand the process and ethical standards that come with being a mediator,” Mel said.
Mediation is a process in which the mediator, a neutral third party with no authority to make decisions for the individuals, mediates a conflict or dispute to assist individuals to improve their relationship, enhance communication and use effective problem solving and negotiation procedures to reach voluntary and mutually acceptable understanding or agreements on contested issues.
Mel says the risks of using someone to mediate a dispute who is not an accredited mediator can include a lack of training and understanding of the skills needed to be a mediator and may mean that ethical standards such as confidentiality, impartiality and neutrality are not adhered to.
Using a non-accredited mediator may also expose you to further risk as they may not understand risk factors, power dynamics or the effect of culture within conflict. An individual who is not accredited may not be running a registered business or practice and may not have insurance or an independent complaint handling service.
CRS alternative dispute resolution services director Jess Wolski says there are a few things everyone should check when finding a mediator. “Do a quick internet search for mediators in your area, and check their qualifications and experience.
“It is important that your mediator is properly qualified so they know how to handle your situation appropriately. Also, check the public ‘mediator lookup’ register on the Mediator Standards Board website. This includes full name, organisation and registered mediator number, so you can be assured they are qualified,” Jess explained.
“Continue to research further into the organisation, looking to see if their values align with yours. Finally, contact the mediator or organisation and begin the process.”
CRS is the only nationally accredited mediation training organisation in the ACT and runs multiple five-day mediation training courses throughout the year. Successful completion of this training satisfies the training requirements under the National Mediation Accreditation Standards.
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