Effective Screening for Domestic Abuse in Mediation
Trainer: Adrienne Cox
Adrienne is an experienced mediation trainer having trained on mediation foundation training
courses and written and presented a number of courses for Resolution on mediation-related topics
and currently trains for FMA and in her own name. Following practice as a family solicitor, she
lectured in family law at Exeter University between 2002 and 2013 and has been mediating since
2002. In 2013 Adrienne set up her own mediation practice and was one of the original board
members of the Family Mediation Standards Board serving on the Board from its inception in April
2015 until Summer 2020. Adrienne is a current member of the Family Solutions Group, a sub group
of the Private Law Working Group created to focus on solutions for families in the pre court space.
Effective and appropriate screening and assessment of mediation suitability is paramount in
ensuring safe and positive outcomes in mediation. Research carried out by Anne Barlow and
colleagues in ‘Creating Paths to Family Justice’ in 2017 found that “inadequate screening may lead to
traumatic mediation experiences and / or unfair or dangerous outcomes.” This was again highlighted
in the Assessment of Risk from Harm report published in June 2020.
This course will provide participants with skills to carry out more effective screening for domestic
abuse, ensuring, as far as possible, that assessment is made so that only clients that are suited to the
mediation process proceed to mediation and that the mediator feels more confident with the
assessment of whether it is safe to mediate for the client. It will highlight perpetrator tactics, the
impact of domestic abuse on the victim/survivor, focusing on coercive control and will explore
differences between abuse and high conflict. The course will highlight different risk assessment
tools and consider which type of questions are most likely to help the client share their experience
and enable the mediator to make the most effective and safe assessment. There will be time for
discussion and sharing of experiences throughout the day.
Who is this course for?
This course is for mediators of all levels. Depending on previous experience or knowledge, the
course will either provide the mediator with new knowledge, information and skills or if the
mediator has been practicing for many years, the course will provide an opportunity for discussion,
sharing experience and to reflect on existing skills.
• Exercises to encourage a deeper understanding of domestic abuse in the mediation context
• Presentation of relevant research to support your practice
• Sharing of information about different risk assessment tools
• Sharing of information about impact of domestic abuse on victims/survivors and their
• Sharing of useful questions, approaches and strategies to assist mediators with their
assessment of suitability
• Case study to develop risk assessment skills
• Supporting clients where decision of not suitable has been made
• Group discussions to help support best practice