Community mediation often involves cases involving interpersonal conflicts such as neighbor disputes, family disputes, and small business disputes. The significant benefit of community mediation is often viewed as the promotion of social justice in which all "citizens, despite their differences, have an equal chance and unlimited access to civil freedom resources and institutions” (Bloemers, 2003, p. 21).
Community mediation processes have received much favorable reception. Much of the evaluation of community mediation literature focuses on agreement rate and participant satisfaction with the process, and most report a high level of satisfaction ( Clarke, Valente, and Mace, 1992) as well as resolution rates ranging from 70–80 percent (Hedeen, 2004).
The findings of a study by Charkoudian (2010) indicated that people who use mediation are more likely to stop using police or court resources in the period following mediation compared to those in conflict who did not use mediation. Moreover, those who had not used police and court resources prior to the mediation were less likely to use these resources in the months following the mediation, compared to those who did not use mediation.
However, just as other types of mediation, many participants are not looking for the mutual understanding that forms the basis of mediators’ transformative aspirations. Some are actually "seeking mediation for the exact opposite: a controlled environment with a formalized process and strangers observing that will insulate them from delving into the emotional or psychological content of their conflict" (Pincock, 2013, p.23). Thus, the aspirations of the mediator must also be controlled in order to allow those seeking mediation to discover and understand their true intention.
Bloemers, W. (2003). Ethics and social justice. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang,
Charkoudian, L. (2010). Giving police and courts a break: The effect of community mediation on decreasing the use of police and court resources. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 28 (2), 141-155.
Clarke, S. H., Valente, E., Jr., & Mace, R. R. (1992). Mediation of interpersonal disputes:
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University of North Carolina,
Hedeen, T. (2004). The evolution and evaluation of community mediation: Limited
research suggests unlimited progress. Conflict Resolution Quarterly
22 (1–2), 101–133
Pincock, H. (2013). Does mediation make us better? Exploring the
capacity-building potential of community mediation.Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31 (1), 3-30