Mediating minor assault cases

Thumbnail Image
Reich, Shani
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This practicum report explores the mediation of eight cases: seven victim/offender cases involving minor assaults and one threatening bodily harm. Four measures were evaluated: impact of face-to-face mediation, writing an agreement, fulfillment of restitution, and learning objectives. The focus was to determine whether mediation restored communication between disputants. Anger halted proper communication and resolution of the incident in all cases. All parties were acquaintances and conflicts were incident-based. The mediation was based on a restorative paradigm. Restorative justice maintains that four parties are affected by criminal behaviour: victim, offender, community, and government. It emphasizes that the goal of the criminal justice system is to assist all parties in reaching resolution. Resolution therefore requires that the victim receive reparation for injuries and the offender assume responsibility for the crime. Initial screening for potential mediations was done in private information court. Out of a number of cases (not documented) thought appropriate by the Crown for mediation eight cases proceeded to mediation; a written agreement was reached in three cases and a verbal agreement in two cases. The mediation process followed the model of introduction, issue identification, discussion, and agreement. Variation in the model existed when case development and mediation were done in the same evening. The State Anger Scale (SAS) was utilized. Results of the pretest and posttest indicated that seven out of eight of the complainants and three out of eight of the accused were less irritated after the mediation. Tabulated results are outlined for eight cases and recommendations for future mediation work are discussed.