Community mediation offers constructive processes for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups, and organizations. It is an alternative to avoidance, destructive confrontation, prolonged litigation or violence. It gives people in conflict an opportunity to take responsibility for the resolution of their dispute and control of the outcome. Community mediation is designed to preserve individual interests while strengthening relationships and building connections between people and groups, and to create processes that make communities work for all of us.
The purpose of the National Association for Community Mediation is to support the maintenance and growth of community-based mediation programs and processes, to present a compelling voice in appropriate policy-making, legislative, professional, and other arenas, and to encourage the development and sharing of resources for these efforts.
In communities around the globe, programs and volunteers share their expertise to help others constructively engage, transform, & resolve conflict. NAFCM supports these peacemakers by aggregating their wisdom, amplifying their voice, and advancing their critical work
Definition of MediationMediation is a process of dispute resolution in which one or more impartial third parties intervenes in a conflict with the consent of the disputants and assists them in negotiating a consensual and informed agreement. In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves. Recognizing variations in styles and cultural differences, the role of the mediator(s) involves assisting the disputants in defining and clarifying issues, reducing obstacles to communication, exploring possible solutions, and reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. Mediation presents the opportunity to peacefully express conflict and to "hear each other out" even when an agreement is not reached.
- Serve as a national voice and an advocate of community mediation in legislative, policy-making, professional, and other arenas.
- Promote the values, understanding, public awareness, and practice of community mediation and collaborative problem solving.
- Educate private and public funding sources about the experience, breadth, benefits and applications of community mediation and develop financial resources for community mediation.
- Serve as a national clearinghouse of information on the development and practice of community mediation.
- Foster communication and mutual assistance among members in such areas as training, funding, technology, and program and policy development.
- Create and maintain a national directory and database for community mediation.
- Encourage and promote regional and national collaborative projects among community mediation programs.
- Promote and encourage collaboration between community mediation programs and non-dispute resolution organizations at both the local and national level.
- Develop and maintain ties with national, regional, state, and other dispute resolution and related organizations to enhance the growth of community mediation.
- Support research, program evaluation, mediation theory development, innovation, and quality in community mediation.
- Recognize and celebrate volunteers in community mediation.
- Develop local and national community mediation leadership.
Characteristics of Community Mediation CentersCommunity Mediation Centers are Characterized by, and/or Committed to:
- A private non-profit or public agency or program thereof, with mediators, staff and governing/advisory board representative of the diversity of the community served.
- The use of trained community volunteers as providers of mediation services; the practice of mediation is open to all persons.
- Providing direct access to the public through self-referral and striving to reduce barriers to service including physical, linguistic, cultural, programmatic and economic.
- Providing service to clients regardless of their ability to pay.
- Providing service and hiring without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, disabilities, national origin, marital status, personal appearance, gender orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income.
- Providing a forum for dispute resolution at the earliest stage of conflict.
- Providing an alternative to the judicial system at any stage of a conflict.
- Initiating, facilitating and educating for collaborative community relationships to effect positive systemic change.
- Engaging in public awareness and educational activities about the values and practices of mediation
Statement of the Value of DiversityNAFCM believes that when any group of persons is treated with less value, dignity or respect than others there are negative impacts for humanity and society. Community mediation programs are intended to be a reflection of each community including the multitude of traditions, customs, and values.NAFCM affirms its commitment to honoring, embracing, and encouraging diversity in all aspects of community mediation. NAFCM values and seeks diversity in our staff, board of directors, committees, and membership. It is NAFCM’s intention to consciously and assertively remove barriers to participation in all aspects of our work and to honor our distinctive customs, values and traditions. NAFCM makes a firm commitment to create an organization (including community mediation centers) and a field that models, supports and teaches respectful pluralism among all.