Mediators as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse: Preserving Mediation's Core Values
60 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2006
This article addresses the various problems mandatory reporting requirements place on the mediation process. Currently the states disagree as to whether mediators should be mandatory reporters, and some states split the mediator ranks into groups of mandatory reporters and permissive reporters based on their professional fields other than mediation. This article explains the reporting statutes and how they affect mediators, but more importantly, it addresses the question of whether mediators should be mandatory reporters of child abuse.
A reasoned look at the policies behind mandatory reporting and mediation reveals that mandatory reporting is already enmeshed in mediation's primary goal, improving outcomes for all parties affected by mediation, which includes children. Because neither a child's best interests nor society's best interests are served if mediators allow possible abuse to continue without further investigation, mediators should be mandatory reporters of abuse. In a mandatory reporting environment, preserving mediation's core values is essential for its continuing vitality as a dispute resolution mechanism in family matters. This article also lays out practice pointers designed to manage the negative impact mandatory reporting may have on mediation's core values.
Keywords: mediation, dispute resolution, child abuse, mandatory reporting, divorce, child custody
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