Anyone who has been to family court can relate to the time, expense, and frustration that accompany long waiting periods in a drawn-out trial. To mitigate these difficulties, court-appointed family mediation has been recognized as a convenient, timely, and amicable alternative that helps to de-clog the system and ensure that resources are allocated prudently. This need is especially pressing outside of the Belize district, in which most services are focused.
To assist in clearing the backlog of cases in family court and extend mediation services across the country, RESTORE Belize, through the Youth Violence Prevention Project, in collaboration with UWI Open Campus, Belize and the Supreme Court of Belize, coordinated and facilitated the training of diverse professionals from all corners of Belize to complete an intensive six-day course on family mediation.
The course utilized techniques such as lectures, group discussions, and role-playing to train participants in mediation skills and build a commitment to ethical conduct, which they were expected to demonstrate.
The 18 participants were sworn in today, and they join the 15 participants who were similarly funded and later sworn-in as family mediators at the start of 2017. The introduction of court-connected mediation into the Family Court promotes a culture of peace and allows for the efficient resolution of family disputes which affect children, adolescents and youth.