Mediate BC is very pleased to announce the long-anticipated Evaluation Report for Phase 3 of the Distance Mediation Project.
This report represents the culmination of 6 years of innovative research which has produced very practical results and attracted attention both in BC and around the world. It confirms that family mediation can be conducted safely and effectively using technological tools including teleconferencing and web-conferencing. These tools can greatly increase access to justice for BC families.
Below are some of the highlights of the report:
- The project’s settlement rates, client survey results and mediator feedback all support the viability and effectiveness of distance mediation. The results of Phase 3 (which focused on web-conferencing) confirmed the surprising suggestion that distance mediation may be more than just a viable conflict resolution option – it may for some families be the preferable option. Some people do not want to meet in person and will decline face-to-face mediation; however given the choice of meeting from a distance using technology, these parties may participate in a mediation and successfully resolve their issues.
- Other important benefits of distance mediation were also demonstrated by the Project. For example, it showed that web conferencing can be helpful in “mirroring” to parties and the mediator their own behaviors – that is, it allows the parties and mediator to see themselves in real time, so that they can learn about and possibly change their own reactions.
- Fourty-six families received distance mediation services through the Project. Face-to-face mediation was not a viable option for many of the families many of whom were separated by considerable physical distance. While some of these families may have been able to access other services to assist them in resolving their family issues, it is likely that “about 35% of [the Project’s] clients would not have accessed, or been able to access, an alternative service if the distance mediation service had not been available.” The Project directly improved access to justice for these BC families.
- These findings will hopefully lead to increased use of technology tools for other areas of mediation and other types of service provision in the province.
Mediate BC is extremely grateful to project coordinator, Susanna Jani , who has guided this project from the outset with great creativity, perseverance, good humour and amazing dedication; and to The Law Foundation of British Columbia for their generous support.
To read the report in full, and other Distance Mediation Project reports, please visit the Mediating at a Distance page.