What is community mediation?

Mediation is a conflict resolution process in which mediators help participants have a difficult conversation, get clear about what’s important to everyone, and make decisions that meet the needs of everyone involved. During mediation, participants speak for themselves and make their own decisions– reaching agreements, rebuilding relationships, and finding long-term solutions to our disputes.

Community mediation provides a grassroots, non-profit framework for assuring access to mediation services at the community level with control and responsibility for dispute resolution maintained in the community. Community mediation strives to:

1. Train community members who reflect the community’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income and education to serve as volunteer mediators

2. Provide mediation services at no cost or on a sliding scale

3. Hold mediations in neighborhoods where disputes occur

4. Schedule mediations at a time and place convenient to the participants

5. Encourage early use of mediation to prevent violence or to reduce the need for court intervention, as well as provide mediation at any stage in a dispute

6. Mediate community-based disputes that come from referral sources including self-referrals, police, courts, community organizations, civic groups, religious institutions, government agencies and others

7. Educate community members about conflict resolution and mediation

8. Maintain high quality mediators by providing intensive, skills-based training, apprenticeships, continuing education and ongoing evaluation of volunteer mediators

9. Work with the community in governing community mediation programs in a manner that is based on collaborative problem solving among staff, volunteers and community members

10. Provide mediation, education, and potentially other conflict resolution processes to community members who reflect the community’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income, education, and geographic location