Journal Article

POWER IMBALANCE AND SPOUSE ABUSE IN DIVORCE DISPUTES: DECONSTRUCTING MEDIATION PRACTICE VIA THE ‘SIMULATED CLIENT’ TECHNIQUE

EDWARD KRUK

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 12, issue 1, pages 1-14
Published in print April 1998 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online April 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/12.1.1
POWER IMBALANCE AND SPOUSE ABUSE IN DIVORCE DISPUTES: DECONSTRUCTING MEDIATION PRACTICE VIA THE ‘SIMULATED CLIENT’ TECHNIQUE

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The issues of spouse abuse, power imbalance, and neutralist versus interventionist styles continue to generate much controversy in the field of family mediation. There remains a paucity of reliable data about the precise nature of the interventions of family mediators in cases of power imbalance and spouse abuse, and the degree to which they incorporate particular items of divorce law and current divorce-related research into their practice in relation to these issues. This paper presents the results of a study examining the working methods of a group of Canadian family mediators using a ‘simulated client’ data gathering technique, in which mediators were briefed to interview the researchers as a divorcing couple who had come to them for an initial mediation session. The study yielded rich data that is systematic and comparable, shedding light on how mediators manage these cases.

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Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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