In July 2014 the Right Honourable Simon Hughes MP and Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties stated:
“It cannot be right that any parents can mediate an agreement affecting their child or children…..in the absence of the children’s voice being heard.”
From there the government commissioned a report known as the Voice of the Child Report. Many recommendations were made, and subsequently adopted, suggesting children should have the opportunity to be heard in any discussions concerning arrangements which involve them. In particular such opportunities should be afforded to children in the mediation process.
At Crowther Mediation, whilst we welcome this opportunity for children, we take this responsibility very seriously. Consulting directly with children in the mediation process can be extremely daunting for both parents and children alike. We want to reassure parents that our aim is to obtain your child’s wishes and feeling for their future in a way that is appropriate to their age and understanding.
Discussions with children shall remain confidential (with exceptions), giving children the freedom they need to discuss the matters that concern them the most. Our trained professionals will then aim to help children share their thoughts and concerns with their parents via the mediation process.
Whilst our mediators are trained to consult directly with children, we believe in going the extra mile to provide our clients with the best possible service. When it comes to children, why would we do anything else? With this in mind, all of our child consultations involve our resident Psychologist Dr Luisa Williams. Luisa has extensive knowledge and experience of dealing with children and families. Working closely with Crowther Mediation, Luisa is able to provide a unique insight into the thoughts of children, enabling our mediators to help parents develop long lasting solutions to benefit the whole family.
Luisa is also able to provide a report which could then be used in any subsequent court proceedings, which means children don’t have to keep meeting new professionals and repeating the process.
Crowther Mediation is committed to getting this process right for children. We want to obtain their views in the most appropriate way and empower them to share those views with their parents. We also want to be able to provide ongoing care and support for the children and their whole family, if necessary. This is why we don’t charge our clients anything extra for Dr Luisa Williams’ involvement. When it comes to children, we don’t think parents should have to pay extra for exceptional service – exceptional service comes as standard.