Source: (1990) Belfast: Extern Organisation (Cirac). Extern Ctre for Independent Research and Analysis of Crime

The Extern Organisation in Northern Ireland initiated a research effort in 1985 to explore the potential of mediation as an alternative method of dispute resolution; the group felt that mediation schemes would be of particular value in neighborhood disputes and in the victim/offender relationship. A literature review was conducted to obtain background information on people's attitudes toward conflict, and mediation schemes in England and the United States were examined. To acquire a balanced picture of the extent of neighborhood disputes in Northern Ireland, both inner city and rural samples were studied using interviews with local residents, clergy, community groups, and formal agencies. Information was difficult to obtain because few organizations had any experience in dealing with neighborhood disputes. Mediation, in the loose sense of intervention by a third party at the request of one or both disputants, rarely occurred. However, a certain amount of shuttle diplomacy was carried out in neighborhoods by the police, the Environmental Health Department, and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. All agencies and groups contacted were sympathetic to the idea of a Neighborhood Dispute Service. Recommendations to encourage conflict resolution through mediation focus on obtaining more accurate information about neighborhood disputes, using community resources to deal with disputes, teaching conflict management skills in schools, training individuals and groups in mediation skills, and establishing a pilot scheme to offer mediation services to neighbors in dispute. Appendixes provide a description of existing mediation schemes in Northern Ireland and a list of persons contacted during the mediation research effort. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,