New training standards focus on family violence

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NEW training and practice standards require, for the first time, that family dispute resolution professionals meet minimum training and practice standards, including training on how to screen for family violence, the province announced on Thursday.
Under B.C.’s Family Law Act, families going through separation and divorce are encouraged to consider, where appropriate, out-of-court family dispute resolution options. These options include the services of professionals such as mediators, parenting co-ordinators and arbitrators. The new training standards will ensure families are directed to safe and appropriate processes conducted by qualified professionals.
Effective January 1, 2014, all dispute resolution professionals are required to meet the following new standards with regard to family violence:
* At least 14 hours of in-depth training on how to identify, screen for and manage family violence or power imbalances to determine whether, or what type of dispute resolution process is appropriate.
* A minimum level of family-related experience (between two and 10 years) and training in their area of practice (between 40 and 80 hours).
* A minimum of 10 hours a year of ongoing training to ensure their skillset remains relevant.
* Extensive training in family law.
Prior to the new regulations under the Family Law Act, there were no minimum training or practice standards for mediators, parenting co-ordinators and arbitrators. The full list of regulations can be found at:
http://ow.ly/rRIq3
Lawyers who act as family law mediators, parenting co-ordinators or arbitrators also have to meet similar training and practice standards under new Law Society of British Columbia rules. This will ensure that all family dispute resolution professionals, whether they are lawyers or non-lawyers, meet minimum standards.