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Mediation could be the solution

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Parchment Brown

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

In light of recent attacks linked to familial disputes, the issue of mediation, or the lack thereof, has resurfaced.

Donna Parchment Brown, CEO of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), is urging more people to consider mediation as a viable option.

"People need to know more about it to use it more," she said. "The media are aware but it doesn't get mentioned in the times in-between (incidents) to the degree where the public needs to see it as their natural response."

She noted that the DRF had a number of programmes for persons of all ages but she still felt the wider society was still unaware.

"The public in general, I don't believe they will be very aware of all the services that are available, and that they don't have to pay for most of these services."

She said many of the cases at the foundation's headquarters on Camp Road are business-related.

"The RM matters tend to be more interpersonal conflict," she said. Parchment Brown noted that for October 2011 to September 2012, mediations within the RM courts exceeded 1,500 matters. Of that number, the DRF was able to achieve just under 1,000 agreements islandwide. The foundation's Knowledge Management Division, which attempts to educate the society about alternative ways of resolving disputes, reported nearly 4,000 participants in 67 conflict resolution sensitisation workshops over the same period. Over 17,000 people attended the 23 expos and education fairs on the same topic.

"There are many who are aware of it and are in the communities advising, but it needs more public education," she said.

Parchment Brown assured that anyone who came forward for assistance would receive it, if even just to have a listening ear.

"Some of the people are highly trained, some are just good people who really care, but who are not going to judge you either."