Conflicts between people happen all the time, and no one likes to experience the fallout of a tense conflict. It’s also hard to solve a problem when communication between people is blocked or strained. Emotions seem to get in the way. While Restorative Justice typically addresses situations where HARM has been done, and things can be MENDED, our agency also assists in situations where a DISPUTE has divided two parties, and things can be SETTLED.
BCRJP provides trained facilitators who serve as mediators that help both sides understand where the other party is coming from, and helps them to reach mutual solutions that both sides can live with. Mediators, in brief, help people in conflict to move the discussion from POSITIONS to INTERESTS. This shift in discussion usually lowers the emotional intensity to the point where both sides no longer feel stuck in the past, but together, can work on solutions for the future. If the other person is no longer viewed as “the problem”, then both parties can start to solve a shared problem in ways neither thought possible. An effective solution is one that meets all of the needs or interests expressed by both sides.
This dialogue process usually ends in a signed, good-faith agreement that is unbinding, and all information that comes up in a meeting is recognized as being (and remaining) confidential and inadmissible in any subsequent court processes. This framework of confidentiality gives the parties a greater freedom to express themselves as they need to, without fear of anystatement being used against them. Fortunately, most participants in a dispute resolution process keep their agreements and express satisfaction with the outcome.
Sometimes a person can’t HEAR anything until they have truly been HEARD.
A primary role of the mediator is to keep the conversation constructive and productive, moving from past history, to present concerns, to future solutions. Their job is not to fix things for the participants, but to empower the parties to fix things themselves. This boils down to making sure both sides have had ample time and space to say what they need to say and hear what they need to hear.
Types of Cases:
- Workplace setting
- Rental housing/apartments
- School/campus conflict