October 14th, 2009
Governor Proclaims Conflict Resolution Month in Washington State,
Reinforcing Support for Community Mediation Centers
Governor Christine Gregoire has proclaimed October as Conflict Resolution Month (proclamation attached), recognizing that community-based mediation is a service that saves taxpayers over a million dollars annually in court cost for cases that have gone to mediation rather than a court hearing.
Community-based mediation is most often provided by dispute resolution centers (DRCs), which operate on a county-by-county basis. The 21 dispute resolution centers in Washington served more than 64,000 people last year, including more than 12,000 children, by helping state residents settle conflicts between spouses, family members, neighbors, landlords and tenants, businesses and consumers, workplaces, civic organizations, and government agencies.
The DRCs in Washington are members of Resolution Washington, a statewide association of Dispute Resolution Centers which provide low-cost mediation and mediator-training services in 25 counties. DRCs offer the most specialized mediation services in the state, providing special programs such as elder care mediation, parent-teen mediation, and victim-offender mediation.
According to the National Association for Community Mediation:
[Community mediation] is an alternative to avoidance, destructive confrontation, prolonged litigation or violence. It gives people in conflict an opportunity to take responsibility for the resolution of their dispute and control of the outcome. Community mediation is designed to preserve individual interests while strengthening relationships and building connections between people and groups, and to create processes that make communities work for all of us
Individuals and businesses are encouraged to call their local dispute resolution centers to explore their options for solving conflicts.
Background on DRCs
The State Legislature enabled the creation of community mediation centers in 1984 by adopting the Court Reorganization Act, Revised Code of Washington 7.75. Since that law was passed, 21 Dispute Resolution Centers have been established across the state, serving more than 90 percent of the states population.
More information about the Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) in Washington can be found at www.ResolutionWa.org.