Child-inclusive mediation research gets IRC funding

Pictured from left are: Madeline Treacy, Norah Storey and Sarn-II Baru, the three successful WIT recipients of the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme Awards

Pictured from left are: Madeline Treacy, Norah Storey and Sarn-II Baru, the three successful WIT recipients of the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme Awards

Research which will be carried out in partnership the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland has received funding under the Enterprise Partnership Scheme

Research to be conducted by a School of Humanities researcher is to be supported by the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme which supports collaborations between researchers and partner organisations. 

Madeline Treacy’s research an international Comparative Analysis of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the Practice of Child-Inclusive Mediation will be carried out in partnership The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII). The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland is the professional association for Mediators in Ireland. It is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to promote the use of quality mediation by ensuring the highest standards of education, training, professional practice and regulation. 

Supervisor Dr Sinead Conneely stated "This research represents an innovative study of the child in family mediation and offers Irish mediators the opportunity to access best practice in their professional practice, supported by research findings."

President of the MII Margaret Considine said: “As co-funders of the scholarship we are delighted that Madeline has been chosen for this important research project. The scholarship will advance research into the practice of child inclusive mediation in Ireland, an area of mediation that has great potential to improve resolutions by ensuring that the voice of the child is heard to best effect. We wish Madeline well with her work.”

Views of the child

Considine went on to say the MII is delighted to partner with Waterford Institute of Technology on this important area of research. "We are very keen to see the researcher’s meta-analysis of all existing published articles concerning child-inclusive mediation, and to learn about the practice of child-inclusive mediation in the 5 jurisdictions. This is particularly important in light of our obligation as mediators to hear the views of a child in any matter that effects them, a right under article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and a right under Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution. We hope that this research will assist not only our members in the practice of family mediation, but will also provide much needed information for those families and their children who may use mediation to resolve disputes."

Future policy

The purpose of the research is to compare the law, policy and practice of child inclusive mediation in Britain and Ireland in order to influence future policy in the area of child-inclusive mediation in Ireland. It will also provide an opportunity to promote child-inclusive mediation in family disputes, in accordance with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A further objective of the study is to highlight any effective protocols for hearing the voice of the child that result in positive outcomes for the child and their family, and to identify any shortcomings in the area. It is hoped to identify new protocols and policies on the basis of credible evidence found in the study. The research will make recommendations for best practice in the field in order to best promote children's rights in the field.

About Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process of conflict prevention and resolution that allows the parties an opportunity to address their issues in a confidential, private, and safe environment.  Mediators are trained in conflict resolution skills and techniques and have the expertise needed to give people the best possible opportunity to resolve their disputes.

Mediation is effective:

In single-issue and multi-issue disputes
In two-people and multi-party conflicts
In developing innovative and sustainable solutions when parties are willing but stuck
As a preventative intervention early in a conflict
As an alternative to avoid further costly public litigation

The mediation process improves communication, narrows outstanding issues, defuses emotions and defines areas of agreement.  Statistics show a success rate for mediation averaging 80 per cent.

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