Can Mediation Work for Victims of Domestic Violence?


If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, don’t rule out the possibility of mediation just yet. In the past, advocates and supporters of domestic violence victims discouraged mediation as a way of ending a marriage for fear that the victims’ low self-esteem, unequal bargaining power, and even one’s likelihood of being manipulated would provide them with a disadvantage.

Modernly, this theory has been dispelled and mediation is becoming a way to provide victims with a sense of empowerment in some cases. For instance, mediators do not have to meet with the parties in the same room. A skilled mediator with experience in assisting parties where domestic violence ensued will often separate the parties into different rooms and speak with them one at a time. This can create a dynamic shift between the parties.

When handled properly and in appropriate circumstances, the mediation process can actually give the battered party a chance to be heard, regain their confidence, self-esteem, and stand up to their batterer. In many situations it’s all about setting and enforcing new boundaries. This can set a precedent for the remainder of interactions between the parties that may arise for years to come. If minor children are involved, this can help contribute to a better co-parenting relationship.

Speak with a mediator who has extensive experience in mediating disputes between parties of domestic violence to see if mediation is right for you.

Authored by IRWIN & IRWIN.

IRWIN & IRWIN Family Law is located in Fullerton and Newport Beach, California. We provide a full suite of family law services from divorce litigation, divorce mediation, child custody issues, domestic violence restraining orders and representing minors in court. “Every situation is different, and some come with very complex financial issues. Our legal team is here to support you during a very troubling time and prepare you for court, or to at least help negotiate or mediate the issues out to establish an equitable legal resolution,” says Kelly Irwin, Senior Litigator at the firm.