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Table 1 Research aims, methods of addressing these and potential benefits

From: Efficacy of family mediation and the role of family violence: study protocol

Research aims Methods Benefits
1. To map the profiles of clients seeking family mediation in terms of their relationship, mental health, history of violence, and socio-demographic factors Baseline survey. Measurement of relationship variables including level of couple conflict and family violence (CTS2, financial abuse, controlling behaviour, domination and intimidation), level of acrimony in the relationship and parenting alliance. Other variables include psychological wellbeing, and demographic features To increase knowledge of the demographic and relationship profile of separating adults who attend family mediation, the prevalence of family violence and conflict, and their capacity to negotiate parenting issues. Factors associated with levels and types of family violence will be assessed
2. To determine the existence and prevalence of family violence within the relationship
The measurement of violence used in this study addressed some of the limitations of current scales by measuring a wider range of abuse domains, such as financial abuse, controlling and coercive behaviour. The study will enhance understanding of family violence within the post-separation and mediation context
3. How does the presence of family violence influence mediation processes and mediation agreements and other decision that parents make in relation to post-separation parenting arrangements Assessment of parties’ experiences of mediation, mediators assessment of parties’ level of conflict and their ability to mediate successfully, and what outcomes were achieved in terms of parenting agreements The study explored how mediators screened for violence, whether they referred on, how they handled violence during mediation sessions, and the decisions that were made about parenting agreements in the light of the couple history and experience of violence
4. To evaluate clients’ satisfaction with mediated agreements and determine predictors of clients’ satisfaction post-mediation and 6 month later. Potential predictors include: pre-test characteristics, and mediation processes (experience of mediator, number of sessions) Measurement of presence of type and severity of violence before, after and at 6 months after mediation to assess any changes This longitudinal survey allows us to track changes in violence and acrimony between separated couples after mediation and whether mediation was able to positively influence this behaviour
Measurement of changes to parental conflict before and after mediation and at and 6 months. Knowledge about the parties experience of the mediation and their feedback about the process and outcomes can better inform clinicians about their needs
5. To determine durability of mediated agreements, eg, parenting agreements at 6 month follow-up The qualitative survey at post-post mediation assessed the strength of the parenting agreement The study examines how parents fared up to 6 months after mediation, to assess whether mediated agreements lasted, or whether alternative plans developed. It also examines predictors of durable and successful agreements and impact on parenting roles