Services

Services available through VACCR Member Centers

To access these services, please contact one of the regional centers listed to the right of this page, or contact info@vaccr.org and VACCR’s Coordinator can direct you to a center providing that service. 

 

What is mediation? Mediation

People in conflict can use mediation to try to resolve their issues collaboratively.  A trained mediator with no stake in the outcome of a dispute guides participants through a process that allows each person to:

a.)   describe what is important to him or her

b.)   work together to determine how the issue could be resolved

The benefits of mediation typically include:

  • Flexibility, accessibility and timeliness – A session can usually be scheduled at a time and place convenient for the participants, and often before (or instead of) a court-scheduled appearance;
  • Affordability – VACCR centers base their fees on a person’s resources.  If sessions are held outside of court, there are no court or attorney fees (unless a participant wants to bring an attorney into the process);
  • Increased understanding – Participants are given time to more adequately understand the issue(s) and the other person’s point of view;
  • Control over outcomes – Participants create solutions themselves and do not have to agree to anything that will not work for them;
  • Better outcomes – Solutions are often more creative, satisfactory and easier to implement than imposed solutions. 

Examples of issues for which people use mediation are:

Separation/Divorce
Child custody, visitation & support
Property division
Spousal support

Mediation can benefit separating couples because they know, better than others, what will work for their families.  They know their schedules, what is important to each other, and how they value their property.  Mediation gives them the opportunity to use this knowledge to craft successful agreements.  Couples with children can use mediation to help set the groundwork and provide a model for future communication.

Elder Issues

Mediation provides an opportunity for able elderly, their children and other concerned people to meet in a neutral place to discuss and resolve issues such as:

 Medical treatment options

  • Independence and safety
  • Guardianship & care-giving responsibilities
  • Conflicts with service providers
  • Estate planning and distribution

 Mediation can give able seniors control over their lives and help them to get issues resolved outside of the courtroom, which can be an intimidating, confusing and frightening place.  In mediation, they are able to get input from their support network without being overlooked in the discussion.  Mediation can also be used when an elderly person is incapable of making sound decisions and family members need to come together to make decisions for them.

Consumer
Goods & services
Personal injury
Landlord/tenant

Resolving issues through the courts is not “free.”  The plaintiff (the one who brings the case to court) or defendant pays a court fee.  Often both parties have to take time off from work to attend the court-imposed trial date.  And suing someone does not usually improve a relationship.  Mediation is a good process for these types of disputes.  In fact, many small claims courts across the state are referring these cases to mediation. 

Workplace
Discrimination
Job performance

Mediation can result in positive workplace changes and keep conflicts from disrupting workplace relations and productivity.  Mediators from VACCR centers who have no stake in the outcome of the dispute can be useful in these situations, as concerns about confidentiality and job security often make employees reluctant to use in-house human resource assistance.

Neighborhood
Noise
Parking
Pets

Neighborhood issues can affect quality of life significantly, as the issues (barking dogs, parking issues, etc.) are often present daily.  Talking with a neighbor about a controversial issue can be easier when a trained mediator facilitates the process.  Mediation can help preserve relationships and create successful resolutions to issues that compromise community living.

Parent/Teen

Mediation provides a level playing-field for people and can therefore be a helpful process for parents and increasingly independent teens in conflict.  It also provides an opportunity to practice healthy communication, which can be used in future conflicts.  Mediation can be used to discuss issues such as:

  • School attendance and performance (see Truancy Mediation below)
  • Social life
  • Household responsibilities
  • Privacy
  • Communication

 School Programs

Knowing how to engage conflict productively is an important life skill.  Schools can integrate this skill into their communities through:

  • Adult modeling and “teachable moments”
  • School-wide or classroom Conflict Resolution workshops
  • Peer mediation programs that train students to serve as mediators for other students
  • Truancy mediation programs that help ascertain and remedy why a student is not attending school
  • Restorative Justice programs (see below)

VACCR centers can provide schools with the support they need (training, guidance, mediators) to implement these strategies or programs.  

Restorative Justice Conferencing

Restorative justice is an increasingly popular and effective approach to justice that addresses not only the legally relevant aspects of an incident, but the personally relevant (the needs of the offender and those who have been affected by the offense).  Restorative processes can include anyone affected by the offense as well as those who need to be involved in making a decision, such as parents/caretakers, youth, school officials, police, social services personnel, etc.  Participants are encouraged to describe how the offense has affected them and offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and repair damage.

Restorative processes can be used:

  • Within families
  • In schools
  • When incarcerated people re-enter society/families

 The goals of these processes include:

  • Greater accountability by the offender
  • Restitution for the offended
  • Reintegration of the offender into the family and community
  • Closure for those involved

 Conflict Resolution Skills Training

Knowing how to resolve conflicts effectively is an important skill that can be taught.  VACCR centers provide conflict resolution and communication skills workshops to the public as well as customized workshops off-site at workplaces, houses of worship, schools, etc.  Examples of these include:

  • Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • Assertive Communication
  • Co-Parenting
  • Organizational Problem Solving
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Designing Conflict Management Systems
  • Cognitive Barriers to Dispute Resolution
  • Becoming a Better Listener

 Current Workshops

A list of workshops that VACCR centers are currently offering around the state can be found by clicking here (link):

Community-wide Collaborations

 In community-wide collaborations, community members discuss and address vital community issues.  Examples include:

–         The siting of large public works projects like power stations or landfills
–         School redistricting
–         The location of a drug treatment center

Benefits of community-wide collaborations include:

  • Shared input from the community about the issue
  • Increased understanding by the community of the issue
  • The experience/expertise of the public can help inform the issue
  • Increased support for any eventual decision

 VACCR centers can help communities hold successful community-wide collaborations.

Controversial Issue Facilitation

VACCR centers can facilitate dialogues around difficult and controversial issues that divide communities.  The goal of these dialogues is not usually to resolve the issues, but to develop respect for people even when there is strong disagreement.

Meeting Facilitation

 VACCR meeting facilitators can help to improve the effectiveness of a meeting.  They do this by:

  • keeping the discussion productive and the participants “on task”
  • helping to ensure that no one person dominates the discussion
  • summarizing points of agreement as the meeting progresses, and particularly at the end.

 To Access Services

To access these services, please contact one of the regional centers listed to the right of this page, or contact info@vaccr.org and VACCR’s Coordinator can direct you to the center providing that service.

 

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