Journal Article

The marginalization of domestic violence in divorce mediation

D Greatbatch and R Dingwall

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 13, issue 2, pages 174-190
Published in print August 1999 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online August 1999 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/13.2.174
The marginalization of domestic violence in divorce mediation

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This article examines how allegations of domestic violence are managed in family mediation sessions. Although domestic violence is sometimes mentioned by the disputants the mediators treat it as a side issue. However, the marginalization of violence does not begin with the mediators' interventions. Rather it begins with the 'victims'' allegations which are produced in ways which could be heard either to minimize the severity and impact of the violence or to raise the possibility that they are not 'serious' accusations. However, the accusations are also open to alternative interpretations. Thus, for example the disputants may be using indirect and tentative constructions in order to constitute violence as an interactionally delicate topic and/or to test whether full disclosure of what has happened to them is possible. This raises important questions with respect to the domestic violence policies and procedure developed by the family mediation agencies.

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Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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