DIVORCE Mediation often turns blind eye to domestic violence

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Mediators and welfare officers working with separating and divorcing parents urgently need to review their methods for identifying victims of domestic violence, according to research supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The study warns that women are at risk of intimidation by violent former partners, during the mediation process, which is designed to help couples reach agreements over money, matrimonial homes and children.

But one of the researchers, Dr Marianne Hester, of the School for Policy Studies, at the University of Bristol, said: "Our survey found that many mediators are tending to minimise the existence and impact of domestic violence.

"Those who were least likely to screen for domestic violence were most likely to allow mediation to go ahead, with potentially dangerous consequences." Patricia Wynn Davies