Using mediation to sort out disputes

Using mediation to sort out disputes

Mediation can be used to sort out your dispute instead of going to court to get a personal safety intervention order. It can be quicker and easier than going to court.

Mediation will not be used if:

  • the complaint is about stalking behaviour
  • there is a real risk of violence, threats or harm.

However, if you have a non-violent dispute the court will encourage you to try mediation.

The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has a free, confidential mediation program. It has dispute assessment officers at most courts on the days that personal safety intervention orders are heard.

Referrals to mediation

You may be referred to a dispute assessment officer by:

  • the court registrar when you go to court to apply for an order
  • the magistrate at the court hearing – this is called a 'mediation direction'.

The dispute assessment officer will interview both parties to see if the case is suitable for mediation. Interviews can be at court, by phone or at a dispute settlement centre.

Do you have to go to mediation?

Both the protected person and the respondent have to agree to do mediation for it to happen.

The court can direct the parties to go to an assessment to work out if the case is right for mediation. The court can then direct the parties to go ahead with mediation.

It is not an offence to refuse to go to mediation. However, the magistrate can take this into account when deciding whether or not to make an intervention order.

What happens at mediation

The mediator helps the parties to talk about the problem and find a solution. The mediator is separate from the court and impartial. They do not take sides in the dispute.

At the end of the session the mediator issues a mediation certificate which includes the following information:

  • if the parties have booked a mediation session
  • if the mediator does not think that mediation is appropriate
  • the name of any person who did not turn up at a mediation session
  • if some of the things that the parties disagreed about have been sorted out through mediation
  • any other information that the parties agree to pass on to the court.

This certificate is used by the magistrate to decide whether or not to make a personal safety intervention order.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with personal safety intervention orders.