Only half of adults are aware of mediation as alternative to family court proceedings, the Ministry of Justice has reported.
In a newly published analysis, only 53 per cent of the respondents said they were aware of mediation and only one per cent said had actually undergone the process.
The Ministry analysed data from the 2012/2013 Crime Survey for England and Wales, focusing on respondents’ attitudes to and experiences of the family justice system.
People who had been divorced, people who had a child living elsewhere; and women were more likely than other groups to have an awareness of mediation.
Less than one per cent of the respondents, meanwhile, reported having been involved in a family court case in two years prior to the survey. However, those who had were largely positive about the experience the MoJ claims, with the majority saying they felt they had been treated fairly and had been kept informed as their case progressed.
Remarkably, more than half the respondents admitted to not being aware of the family court system at all before being intervened. Women were more likely toalready be aware of the family court system than men.
The survey sample was also presented with one of two hypothetical family court situations – a case concerning contact and residence and another concerning care proceedings. A comfortable majority – 71 per cent – said they would be confident that the courts would reach a decision which was in the best interests of the children in the first situation, and even more (72 per cent) said they thought the courts would take into consideration the views of both parents. However, confidence was lower in regard to the care case – only 67 per cent said they thought the courts would reach a decision in the best interests of the child, and fewer still (65 per cent) thought the court would take the views of both parents into account.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales is a household poll, and most recently featured a nationally representative sample of 35,000 adults.
Read the analysis here.