A variety of techniques and processes are available to assist those in conflict to come to a resolution. Differing definitions abound for the words “Mediation”, “Reconciliatory Justice”, “Conciliation”, “Victim-offender Dialogue”, "Group Conferencing", and “Facilitation” which can create some confusion.
DSC focuses on restorative dialogue-based processes that use a trained impartial person, often referred to as a mediator or facilitator. The dialogue or mediation will have different forms depending on the type of situation. Key is the intake process where we assess whether all necessary people are ready and willing to participate and the kind of session, face-to-face or not, that is appropriate. Also important is the setting – a private, safe area with adequate time so as to not rush the dialogue. The dialogue emerges when guided by an impartial mediator – someone who is not seen as the authority figure deciding punishment. Outcomes from a mediation can include resolutions such as an apology, payment of restitution or other repair of harm done, or simply that a young person will next time check out a nasty rumor and not react with violence.
DSC works with institutions and organizations such as schools, after-school facilities, housing groups, and the criminal courts to provide the skills and system design to integrate restorative dialogue into what they do; regular contact with DSC staff in the appropriate structure is often part of the plan to build the on-site capabilities while also ensuring the right mediator is available for the issue at hand.
For more on the process and examples, please see our Videos and Stories on mediation.