Doc. 9333

31 January 2002

Risks and chances of women in family mediation

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mrs Lydie Err and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       Family mediation is a process in which an impartial third person named mediator helps two or more parties in a dispute, consenting formally to the process of mediation, to reach an agreement on all family-related problems, including the division of property as well as spousal and child support issues. It represents a constructive, comprehensive and consensual alternative to litigation and it aims at the establishment of communication between the parties.

2.       It can help to reduce tension, hostility and misunderstandings and is recognised as a highly efficient, entirely confidential way of settling the disputes between parties entering into negotiations voluntarily and sharing an equal bargaining power.

3.       Unfortunately, women very often either are or feel vulnerable in family conflicts, especially in those relationships where there is an imbalance of power due to domestic violence or abuse or an underevaluation of women’s paid or unpaid labour. Family mediation must ensure the full implementation of the rights of women.

4.       The Assembly calls on the member states of the Council of Europe:

-       to allocate sufficient resources to the development of mediation, in particular to the establishment of specialized family mediation services;

-       to include in the national legislation a provision requiring family mediators to look carefully into the power relations between the parties before their formal consent to the mediation process in order to establish whether there was an imbalance of power or violence and to avoid reaching an agreement under pressure;

-       to develop training programmes in family mediation for all relevant professionals.

5.       The Assembly also recommends that the Committee of Ministers examine the whole issue of balance of power between women and men in family mediation as well as the impact of family mediation on women’s equality perspective.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed : 1

Err, Luxembourg, SOC

Auken, Denmark, UEL

Cryer, United Kingdom, SOC

Delvaux-Stehres, Luxembourg, SOC

Dromberg, Finland, EDG

Druziuk, Ukraine, UEL

Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC

Herczog, Hungary, SOC

Isohookana-Asunmaa, Finland, LDR

Kanelli, Greece, UEL

Katseli, Greece, SOC

Kiely, Ireland, LDR

López González, Spain, SOC

Mikaelsson, Sweden, UEL

Palis, Germany, SOC

Stoyanova, Bulgaria, EPP/CD

Vermot-Mangold, Switzerland, SOC

de Zulueta, Italy, SOC

Zwerver, Netherlands, SOC

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group