From coercion to empowerment: Spousal abuse and mediation

Authors

  • Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran,

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    • Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran is a mediator at and associate of the Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon, and a graduate student in counseling psychology at the University of Oregon.

  • James C. Melamed

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    • James C. Melamed is an attorney and mediator at the Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon. He is executive director of the Academy of Family Mediators, teaches mediation at the University of Oregon School of Law, and is a member of the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission.


Abstract

Early discussions of the issue of mediating separation and divorce when there has been spousal abuse were characterized by misconception and polarization. As this dialogue continued, relevant terms were better defined, needs and interests were expressed, and understanding, responsiveness, and solutions emerged. This article suggests that the ultimate answer to the question of whether mediation should take place when there has been spousal abuse lies in determining the present level of coercion or intimidation in the relationship.

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