The Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) provides free mediation services for issues of community concern across the Circuit Court of Cook County, currently handling over 1,500 cases annually with the support of volunteers and staff. In 2017, CCR began accepting referrals to a new pilot mediation program for non-intimate parties’ Stalking/No Contact Order cases. Parties in these cases are strong candidates for successful mediation due to the nature of their relationships. Examples of the types of cases referred to CCR through this program include cases involving neighbors, landlords/tenants, co-workers, students at the same school, members of the same faith institutions, parties in a love triangle, and/or social acquaintances.
CCR has engaged the Harvard Dispute Systems Design Clinic to evaluate CCR’s system for intake, facilitating, and evaluating Stalking/No Contact mediations in Cook County. The goal is to more effectively allocate court resources—ensuring that parties who would benefit from mediation have the opportunity to do so—and provide better outcomes for all parties in these sensitive cases.
Activities and Deliverables
- Interviews, focus groups, and/or surveys with CCR staff, current mediators, past mediators, past parties, Judges, Domestic Violence Advocates, and other key stakeholders that might be identified;
- Review of court process, party experience, and existing program resources and materials;
- Observe mediations (with party permission);
- Prepare a report reviewing existing mediation model, and identifying proposed improvements and best practices for this case type