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Abstract

Presented with such a dearth of standard practices and literature, family mediators have little guidance in whether and how to address cases involving domestic violence. Thus, this article sets forth a mediation screening framework that mediators and mediation program administrators can use to evaluate whether cases are appropriate for regular mediation (joint session without special safety measures), some modified form of mediation, or should be excluded from mediation. Such a method will better ensure a safe and fair mediation experience. Part II briefly examines the controversy surrounding the mediation of cases involving domestic violence, concluding that the arguments against mediating such cases suffer from serious flaws. Part III examines the present state of screening methods across the country, both at the state and local levels. Although not a complete state-by-state comparison, this section gives samples of the different methods currently in place via state laws or court rules, and local court rules. After concluding that mediation screening for domestic violence is, at best, extremely piecemeal and varies greatly in effectiveness and scope, and that screening procedures are the "cornerstone of safe mediation, ' 6 Part IV proposes a model screening protocol for family mediators and mediator program administrators to use in assessing cases before the mediation process begins.

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