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March is Mediation Month

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Governor McAuliffe has named March “Mediation Month” in the Commonwealth, to honor the work done in courts and other resolution centers. 

The Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution and the Virginia Mediation Network are promoting several free seminars during the month.

Mediators working through Virginia’s courts and state institutions handled 15,000 disputes last year.  Thousands more were mediated through dispute resolution centers and private mediation firms.  Van Parker with the Mediation Center of Charlottesville says it’s a way to help people resolve conflicts by talking.

“The main value of mediation is that the agreement you come to is something you’ve worked out.”

He says mediation allows courts to spend time on other cases.

“What we try very hard to do is work with the people at hand and even if they are thinking that mediation isn’t something they want to try, at least initially, we will try to work with them, help them understand what the process is, and let them reach a conclusion, hopefully, that they want to mediate.”

Many courts have mediation programs, and there are community-based dispute resolution centers in 9 locations throughout the Commonwealth.