Paragraph 3.7 of the FMC’s Code of Practice says: ‘Mediators must have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures in place.’
Although this paragraph was only added to the Code of Practice in May 2018, safeguarding measures are already embedded in family mediation practice, from making sure venues are appropriate and safe places for clients to attend, to domestic violence screening at Information and Assessment Meetings, through to exceptions to confidentiality in order to report safeguarding concerns to authorities.
Paragraph 3.7 reinforces that family mediators are responsible for making sure that they take appropriate measures that protect clients from harm or damage throughout the family mediation process. It applies to all family mediators, though mediators who see children as part of the mediation process may have different policies and procedures in place to those who do not.
Policies and procedures should ensure they consider both the possibility of protecting participants and any children involved from mediators causing harm and mediators becoming aware of a person being at risk, for example, if someone makes a disclosure of harm.
The FMC does not give advice on the content of the policies or the procedures to be followed. However, mediators may find more information on what such policies and procedures should contain from the following sources:
– Your FMC Membership Organisation(s).
– The local authority in the area you work in. Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding in respect of adults and children in their local area and have safeguarding boards which give information and advice to professionals.
– The NSPCC in respect of safeguarding for children.
Once a family mediator has appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures in place, they must ensure these are followed both by the mediator themselves and by other people that the mediator works with.