In Community Mediation, the parties in the dispute are members of the same community. Their relationship is usually temporary, such as a landlord and tenant, or a consumer and merchant. Once the issues involved in the dispute are resolved, the parties can choose whether or not to continue this relationship.
These cases may be referred to us by a court, an employer might request our services, school personnel might ask us to intervene, or people in conflict might contact us directly.
While there are several specialized programs in this category, any two people or organizations with a dispute can utilize our services. Some of the more commonly used services are described below.
Nearly all of our community mediation programs are offered free of charge to the participants, with the costs covered by a grant from the Unified Court System as well as donations and fundraising.
In Family Mediation, the parties in the dispute are members of the same family. Their relationship is permanent (or long-term), such as a parent and child, or spouses with children in common. Once the issues involved in the dispute are resolved, the parties can begin working on rebuilding the quality of the relationship.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and participants don't need to fit a particular mold to work with our mediators. A long-term committed couple can benefit from Separation and Divorce services even if they have never been married, and Parent-Teen services can be helpful to any adult struggling with raising youth, for example.
While there are several specialized programs in this category, family members DO NOT need to fit one of them in order to utilize our services. Any family can reach out to us for help.
These services are nearly all without cost to the participants, although there is typically a small fee to prepare documents for court. This is possible through the support of the Unified Court System grant, donors, and fundraisers.
Civil Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution where a neutral third party (the arbitrator) is empowered to determine the settlement of the issue. Their decision is final and binding on the parties, and is enforceable in a court of law. Our arbitrators are trained, apprenticed, and finally sworn to perform their duties ethically and impartially.
We offer a few different Arbitration programs, which are typically accessed through the courts or other governmental services.
An arbitrator has semi-judicial authority, allowing them to act in the same manner as a judge in cases they preside over. This includes issuing oats and subpoenas, for example.
A decision by an arbitrator has the same force of law as a decision by a judge, and an arbitrator's decision may not be appealed. (An arbitration decision may be vacated in very narrow circumstances, allowing for a new hearing, but not based on the facts of the case.)
Restorative Practices (including Restorative Justice services) focus on repairing harm. This harm may have been committed against an individuals, a group, or an entire community. It occurs within families, schools, and even between complete strangers.
The traditional justice system focuses on punishment. Restorative services change that emphasis, working to not only make victims whole again, but to highlight accountability for offenders.
Empowered Pathways are experts in dialogue-based services, where victims, offenders, and others affected by the actions in question can come together and understand the consequences of those actions. All parties can be involved in building a resolution and ensuring maximum accountability, while providing maximum support.
Many of our practices are circle-based. These approaches are flexible enough to be used as preventative services, targeted interventions, and post-release options equally effectively. They may be applied to interpersonal issues, misdemeanor and some felony cases, school discipline infractions, and family conflicts.
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