Sacro Aberdeenshire Community Mediation

Aberdeenshire mediators helped families to resolve a conflict that began around their childrens' behaviour.

An Aberdeenshire Council housing officer got in touch with the mediation service about the Smiths and the Nowaks. The families lived near to each other and both had young children. They had previously been friendly and socialised quite regularly. Recently they had fallen out badly over an incident between the children, and things had got out of hand. Insulting text messages were being sent and the family members ignored each other on the street. Other neighbours were also beginning to get involved by passing on gossip and rumours and taking sides, and the whole situation was escalating.

A Sacro mediator visited each family separately. The mediator found that both families were really very sad that the relationship had broken down and were keen to stop things getting even worse. It was also clear that no-one wanted the children to become involved in what was now an adult dispute and both the Smiths and the Nowaks had been encouraging the kids to keep playing with each other. Everyone said they were doubtful if the original relationship could be restored but both sides agreed to give mediation a try.

We arranged a meeting in a neutral local venue with two mediators in charge of the process. Each family first had the chance to speak without interruption about what had happened and what they'd like to see happen. After this the mediators helped the Smiths and the Nowaks talk directly and calmly to each other in a safe environment about a way forward. They all agreed that the intervention of neighbours had made things worse and that neither family had set out to cause upset to the other. Both sides apologised for what had happened. The mediation meeting helped the Smiths and Nowaks understand how things had got to this stage and helped them reach an agreement about how to start living as friendly neighbours again. Both sides left the meeting happier and relieved that they had sorted things out in a positive way.