Mandatory mediation orders in the context of domestic violence have been a point of controversy for nearly three decades. As mandatory mediation has exploded in popularity across family court systems, legislators and courts have struggled to create best practices for mediating domestic violence. To ensure the suitability of mediation and the safety of the mediation participants, courts may use a screening device to detect domestic violence issues. However, due to poor screening devices or subpar legal models, many family court systems still fail to adequately protect victims of domestic violence.
This paper suggests a set of best practices for family court systems to address domestic violence in mandatory mediation. First, this paper argues that states should employ a uniform model of screening in order to detect domestic violence, collect cross-referenceable data, and reduce arbitrary variation between local courts and other states. Second, this paper discusses potential exemption models for courts to use — models tailored to the scope and budget of their mediation programs. Finally, this paper highlights the need for interdisciplinary support to continue to develop mediation best practices regarding domestic violence.
Table of Contents
Over the last thirty years, mandatory mediation of family law disputes has become increasingly commonplace. Many states have embraced mandatory mediation either through statutes or local court rules that require all cases involving certain family-related disputes to be placed into mediation. Intended as a reform effort, mandatory mediation has been viewed as a method for courts to reduce caseloads, cut costs, and provide positive alternatives to traditional litigation. However, due to the broad and automatic application of mandatory mediation orders in family law disputes, such orders have frequently been criticized as insensitive in cases involving domestic abuse.
The appropriateness of mediation within the context of domestic violence generally continues to be a hotly contested issue. Opponents of mediation in domestic violence contexts typically highlight that the power differential between parties undermines the legitimacy of the process. The Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators indicate that self-determination is an important philosophical consideration in determining the fairness and quality of the mediation process. Yet, the ability to exercise self-determination is uniquely impaired in cases involving domestic violence.
Although the mental consequences of domestic violence vary based on the circumstances of the victim, research generally indicates that victims of domestic violence frequently experience moderate to severe levels of depression and post-traumatic stress. The severity of the symptoms is commonly exacerbated by environmental stressors such as poverty and lack of social resources. The lack of social and financial resources tends to correlate with the frequency and severity of the abuse, making pro se litigants — often people who cannot afford an attorney — particularly at risk for adverse outcomes. Due to the complexity of evaluating mental trauma, ascertaining with any scientific certainty how severely domestic violence impacts the mediation process and nebulous concepts such as “self-determination” remains difficult. As a general rule, domestic violence victims experience difficulties asserting their interests.
In response to criticism, several states have adopted rules and statutes that allow for exceptions to mandatory mediation in cases involving domestic violence. State mediation programs tend to create exceptions using one of three general methods. Some jurisdictions, such as Montana, have imposed a bar to mediating cases in which domestic violence is implicated unless formal consent is given by each of the parties (“bar with waiver”). Other states, such as North Carolina, require a showing of good cause for a court to waive mandatory mediation (“good cause bar”). Finally, states like Florida impose a complete bar to mediation following a showing of domestic violence history between parties (“total bar”). While local and state court rules generally tend to fall within one of the three aforementioned categories, the rules vary widely between family law courts.
Unfortunately, detecting domestic violence presents difficulties for many mediation programs. While the majority of mediation programs report screening for domestic violence, research indicates most programs use inadequate screening methods. Critics note that domestic violence screening tests are often informal devices developed in-house and suffer poor detection rates. In response to the general dearth of meaningful screening procedures, a few states, such as California and Michigan, have attempted to develop more effective domestic violence screening methods. Yet, the majority of states have not attempted to compensate for this deficiency.
The specter of uncertainty hovers forebodingly in the background of all the ink spilled over family court mediation best practices. Literature regarding the outcomes of mediation involving domestic violence is incredibly sparse and not subject to widespread data collection. Domestic violence statistics are notoriously difficult to reliably obtain. Collection of data suffers from low response rates due to the intimate nature of domestic violence, social taboos, and general reluctance to discuss the issue with data collectors; many statistics are amalgamations of secondary sources compiled together.
Defining domestic violence and comparing analytics presents additional difficulties. Many tests are built using conflicting theoretical frameworks and differing definitions of domestic violence, which complicates creating a meaningful meta-analysis from primary source data. Due to the difficulties with comparing data, the nuances surrounding domestic violence remain opaque. As a result, it is impossible to know exactly how severely domestic violence can impact the mediation process.
This article will examine the menagerie of concerns surrounding the mediation of cases involving domestic violence and suggest best practices. Part I will discuss the necessity of a uniform and statistically rigorous “screening” test specifically for the context of family mediation, along with the most promising developments in this domain. Part II will describe effective exemption models for courts to utilize in mediation involving domestic violence. Part III will highlight the need for interdisciplinary support to continue developing best practices as scientific knowledge regarding domestic violence advances. Part IV concludes.
Screening devices are necessary to effectively detect domestic violence. Screening devices are written instruments intended to assess the likelihood of domestic violence between participants. The average mediation screening device attempts to assess the severity of domestic violence and the viability of the mediation process. Parties that indicate sufficient likelihood of domestic violence are typically screened out as being unsuitable for mediation due to safety and power imbalance concerns.
Despite increased efforts to address domestic violence in family law mediation, detection of domestic violence in family law cases remains difficult due to inadequate screening methods. Research indicates that mediators are generally unable to effectively detect domestic violence without the aid of a screening device. While the majority of mediation programs engage in screening for domestic violence, many programs improperly administer the assessment, or the assessment itself is inadequate. The failure to detect domestic violence can have potentially serious adverse consequences for victims, particularly pro se litigants who have no advocate to protect their interests. Accordingly, the development of robust screening procedures should be a priority for any mediation program.
Mediators as a class are not adept at identifying domestic violence without assistance from a screening test. Even with additional professional training specifically oriented toward the detection and assessment of domestic violence, mediators fail to detect domestic violence. Without screening tools, mediators fail to detect domestic violence in seemingly obvious situations, such as when domestic violence is expressly alleged in the case file. Research has indicated that courts themselves are likewise ineffective at screening for domestic violence. Merely having a screening device does not guarantee superior detection ability, however, and screening efforts are often inadequate.
The lack of state-wide standards contributes to the ineffectiveness of current screening efforts. Even codified standards frequently provide little practical guidance. For example, the Ohio standards require courts to establish a screening procedure, but provide no guidance as to the form that the screening procedure must take. As a result, screening methods arbitrarily and unpredictably vary in quality between individual local court systems. Such variation hinders effective domestic violence detection, which requires a systematic screening methodology.
Resource constraints further inhibit the development of effective screening procedures. Family law mediation programs face a difficult issue: resources are decreasing while caseloads are continuing to increase. Compounding the problem, many currently existing screening measures are either limited in scope, require specialized training, or must be purchased due to copyright. Accessibility to validated screening devices remains an issue for many jurisdictions and courts. Those seeking to avoid the costs of purchasing and/or training may choose to develop their own screening tests, which are frequently subpar. The development of an effective, universal screening measure would allow courts to conserve resources otherwise expended developing a screening device for its specific jurisdiction and accommodating parties unsuitable for mediation.
Consequently, the development of a nationwide screening standard is paramount to both improving the quality of the mediation process and ensuring the efficient allocation of resources. While no single screening standard is perfect, and the science behind developing effective testing methods is subject to change as the field becomes more developed, establishing a baseline test would be helpful to ensure a minimum level of quality in family law mediation.
B. Uniform, Systemic Screening Tools Enable Evidence-Based Policy-Making and Efficient Data Collection
Sound policy decisions regarding domestic violence must be informed by appropriate data. As of this writing, policymakers base decisions about the mediation of domestic violence on speculation and anecdotes about potential adverse outcomes for victims, instead of on research. On the whole, commenters caution against the use of mediation in domestic violence cases. In lieu of empirical data, the skeptical and cautious approach favored by most academics is certainly warranted.
Nonetheless, the lack of data may deprive victims of the improved outcomes that mediation can provide. Without data evaluating the favorability of outcomes for domestic violence victims, it is impossible to know whether mediation, as an alternative to traditional litigation, can benefit victims of domestic violence. In absence of such data, academics and policymakers are left shooting in the dark when evaluating under what circumstances mediation should be permitted, excluded, or opted-in to. Policymakers need not rely on guesswork, however.
Uniform, systematic screening devices facilitate evidence-based policy-making. Proper screening systems not only allow for more robust detection of domestic violence, but also allow for superior data collection regarding mediation participant outcomes. Uniformity of screening devices across jurisdictions would allow mediation programs to collect cross-referenceable data. Such data would assist in promoting sound policy decisions and help develop the body of scientific knowledge regarding domestic violence as a whole.
State statutes should be revised to at the very minimum encourage local courts to adopt systematic screening processes. Most statutes are overly broad and allow too much latitude for local courts to employ ineffective screening methods. Requiring local courts to implement a screening device meeting the minimum industry standards for domestic violence detection or electing to choose from a list of approved inventories would be an effective method, as it would neither be overly prescriptive nor unduly vague.
Since the late 2000s, a group of researchers have been developing a diagnostic tool for mediators to screen domestic violence. The researchers intended to create a test that would be broadly useful, would not be copyrighted, and could be widely disseminated, requiring no extensive training to utilize. The test, titled the Mediator’s Assessment of Safety Issues and Concerns (MASIC), uses an in-person interview format wherein the mediator asks the party questions that assess the presence and frequency of behaviors associated with domestic violence. The test offers instruction to the administering mediator by highlighting potential risk factors that could indicate the presence of domestic violence and by providing guidance about the appropriateness of continuing the mediation.
Early experimental results indicate that the MASIC’s detailed inquiry process leads to more frequent reporting of domestic violence than does a generalized inquiry process. The MASIC evaluates multiple forms of domestic violence and advises the mediator on relevant considerations specific to the form of domestic violence present. While other systematic screening devices exist and are potentially useful devices in detecting domestic violence compared to an unverified screening tool, the MASIC is the only such device intended primarily for mediators and available in the public domain.
Knowledge of participant outcomes is necessary to enable evidence-based policy decisions regarding domestic violence. The development of inventories such as the MASIC is imperative to empirically investigating outcomes of cases involving domestic violence. While the MASIC has not yet been extensively verified as reliable and valid, the MASIC represents the most promising development in domestic violence screening inventories for mediation. Nonetheless, greater testing of the MASIC’s effectiveness in comparison with validated inventories is warranted, along with continued refinement of the recommended assessment of risk factors.
Worth noting, however, is that the MASIC only provides screening assistance for the mediator prior to the mediation session. Academics suggest screening at multiple stages of the litigation process to detect potential domestic violence earlier in the process and to minimize the impact of false negatives. Further, the researchers developing the MASIC clarify that the MASIC is not intended to function as the only screening device appropriate for use in mediation settings. Other domestic violence screening devices may be equally, if not more, effective, although studies comparing the effectiveness of the MASIC to other behavior-specific inventories are sparse.
Mediation programs with no systematic screening process should adopt the MASIC to protect disputants and to enable better data collection. Since the MASIC is in the public domain, the relative costs of adopting the test are low and the benefit is high. While programs with already existing systematic screening tools need not abandon their screening methods, participation in the MASIC should be encouraged to create a common dataset.
The ideal mediation model continues to be a topic of intense academic debate. Victims’ rights advocates split between the “total bar” model, which exempts all cases involving domestic violence from mediation, and the “bar with waiver” model, which exempts all cases unless written consent is given by the victim. In contrast, “good cause” models, which typically require a successful showing of domestic violence indicia to exempt the case from mediation, subject to the judge’s discretion, are generally disapproved of by most victims’ rights advocates.
Each model has its own shortcomings. “Total bar” models are inflexible and over-inclusive, barring victims who want to engage in mediation. “Good cause” models leave all the discretion to mediate with the judge, disregarding the victim’s wishes and allowing potentially arbitrary uses of judicial authority. Finally, “bar with waiver” proponents recognize that there are situations in which domestic violence is so severe that mediation would always be improper, even if the victim consents. Consequently, the “bar with waiver” model only functions properly when domestic violence can be effectively screened for severity.
While no model is flawless, the “bar with waiver” model strikes the best overall balance between victim protection and victim autonomy. Even so, mindfulness toward the potential weaknesses of the “bar with waiver” model and limitations of the state’s mediation program should be weighed when considering reform. As such, the “bar with waiver” model should be the ultimate goal for all mediation programs, but not an immediate solution if screening resources are lacking.
Proponents of the “total bar” model believe that all cases involving domestic violence—or at least the overwhelming majority—render mediation impossible due to the power balance differential between parties. Barbara Hart famously described cooperation between spouses affected by domestic abuse as “an oxymoron.” Lenore Walker, one of the earliest critics of mediation in domestic violence contexts, writes “[t]he mediation and conflict resolution approach, so successful in other adversarial areas of the law, serves only to reinforce men’s violent behavior.”
Yet these rather bold claims paint victims in broad strokes that are not supported by current scientific data, often engaging in familiar social stereotypes of the battered woman at the hands of the abusive man. What these commentators fail to acknowledge, likely due to the limitations in scientific research of domestic violence at the time of their publication, is that domestic violence does not follow one prescribed social script. Perpetration of domestic violence varies widely in methodology, severity, and longevity; victim symptomology following domestic violence is equally varied, and how severely the victim is affected is often dependent on his or her individual circumstances.
Since domestic violence exists on a continuum, decisions regarding the suitability of mediation should be appropriately tailored to the severity of the abuse. While cases of severe abuse are never appropriate for mediation, mediation may be appropriate in milder cases. Further, evidence suggests that the traditional litigation process may exacerbate domestic violence, whereas mediation provides a more beneficial alternative, even when compared to other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Consequently, it is not universally in the victim’s best interest to be barred from mediation, particularly if it is the only way for that victim to afford to maintain a claim. The “total bar” model should generally be disfavored because it does not recognize the necessity of an individualized standard.
Despite the near unanimous disapproval of “good cause” exemption models, “good cause” models continue to exist. Such models should be rejected wholesale. The ideal exemption model should adopt a cautious approach that favors exclusion of domestic violence cases, not leave the decision to the individual judge’s personal estimation of the capacity of parties to mediate.
The “good cause” model presents a multitude of well-recognized issues. Relying on a judge’s discretion alone can yield highly inconsistent results depending on the individual judge’s training and conceptualization of domestic violence. Conflicts of interest arise out of a court’s need to clear the docket by ordering cases into mediation. Finally, introducing judicial discretion allows for re-litigation of the mediation agreement, which is antithetical to the purpose of mediation as a cost-saving measure.
Representing the worst of both worlds, the “good cause” model fails to prioritize victims. Not only does it lack the prophylactic, victim protectionist measures of the “total bar” model, but it affords the victim little opportunity to exercise his or her autonomy. Fortunately, the majority of courts and legislators have responded to criticism of the “good cause” model. States either limit the judge’s discretionary ability by providing guidance in exercising discretion or removing judicial discretion entirely by imposing a total bar when domestic violence is implicated. What little remains of the “good cause” model should be condemned to obsolescence.
The “bar with waiver” model permits victims the latitude to choose mediation due to its individualized approach. One of the chief advantages of the “bar with waiver” model is that it allows for the victim, not the mediator, judge, or society, to choose if he or she is willing to engage in negotiations with the perpetrator of the abuse, albeit with limitations in severe cases. Modern academics tend to prefer this model as a result of its focus on victim autonomy and recognition of domestic violence as a spectrum. Access to mediation may lead to more desirable outcomes than the litigation process and empower the victim to tailor the agreement to the situation. With the development of useful inventories such as the MASIC, mediators can further insulate and protect victims by more accurately evaluating the severity of the domestic abuse present. Unlike a judge under the “good cause” model, the mediator determines the suitability of mediation not based on his or her personal discretion, but based on the results of an objective and psychometrically rigorous test.
Another advantage to the “bar with waiver” model is that it allows access to the court system for pro se litigants who may not be able to afford a traditional legal remedy. Parties often save a significant amount of money by engaging in mediation when compared to the traditional litigation process. The categorical exclusion of domestic violence from mediation would inevitably price out a portion of parties unable to bear the costs of litigation and render them unable to vindicate a claim. Such concerns are particularly relevant in cases of domestic abuse affecting individuals in poverty or with limited financial resources. Literature generally suggests individuals of lower socioeconomic status experience domestic violence in higher degrees and frequency. Pro se litigants make up a substantial portion of family law disputants. Accessibility to mediation programs may encourage the filing of claims and overall promote useful outcomes for domestic violence victims by virtue of imposing lower costs than traditional litigation.
Allowing a consenting victim to mediate is not a universal prescription for all circumstances. Commentators unanimously recognize that there are cases in which domestic violence is so severe that mediation would not be appropriate. For instance, victims of pervasive physical violence and sexual abuse are not eligible candidates for mediation due to safety and intimidation issues. As proponents of the “total bar” model are quick to point out, victims of domestic violence have noted tendencies to acquiesce to the demands of their abuser and to be overly conciliatory, even when it is against their interests.
While the “bar with waiver” model allows for expression of victim autonomy, that expression should not be without reasonable safety constraints. The final decision to proceed with the mediation after the victim has consented should ideally be left to the professional discretion of a mediator trained to handle domestic violence. The mediator acts as an important safeguard to prevent inappropriate cases from being referred to mediation.
Proper mediator qualifications are paramount to successfully mediating cases involving domestic violence. Without a properly qualified mediator who is trained to recognize and ameliorate the symptoms of domestic violence trauma, the mediation process can become detrimental, rather than beneficial. Consequently, the “bar with waiver” model is not appropriate for jurisdictions with lax family law mediator qualification standards.
Courts with strong family law mediator qualifications should embrace the “bar with waiver” model as it offers the greatest amount of compromise between victim autonomy and protectionist policy. By contrast, courts with few regulations governing the practice of family law mediation should adopt a “total bar” model. Under no circumstances is a “good cause” bar the ideal solution.
For efforts to address domestic violence in mediation to be effective, family law mediation should be viewed as an interdisciplinary field. Since the mediation process implicates a menagerie of legal, psychological, and ethical issues, professionals must possess appropriate education credentials and training to protect victims. Integration of legal academia with psychology and social work is essential to produce professionals capable of accommodating victims of domestic violence and the continued intellectual development of the field. Victims of domestic violence need trained professionals with knowledge of domestic violence issues to protect their interests in mediation sessions. Continued recruitment of relevant professionals to be involved in administering mediation programs is therefore of utmost importance.
The mediator qualifications required by state court systems continue to be largely inadequate. While many state court systems encourage at least some form of interdisciplinary expertise to qualify as a family law mediator, the level of expertise typically required is often inadequate for handling domestic violence. Few states impose enhanced requirements by statute to mediate cases involving domestic violence.
Some states lack qualification standards entirely. With no state-wide qualification requirements, individual courts and professional associations typically decide and enforce qualification requirements. Such standards are unhelpfully broad, frequently inadequate, and arbitrarily varied. For example, the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation cautions mediators from undertaking a case involving domestic abuse without “appropriate and adequate training.” Statutes defining required mediator qualifications typically are similarly broad.
States that do require some formal training often have exceptionally modest requirements, such as Ohio’s requirement of “Specialized Domestic Abuse Training,” which requires a mere fourteen hours of training time. Some states, such as California, have recognized a need to protect individuals by imposing high educational and experiential requirements on family law mediators, but this is an exception rather than the rule. As with all mediation procedures, the rules tend to vary significantly depending on the proclivities and priorities of the local courts.
The consequences of the lack of qualification regulation are somewhat ameliorated by a healthy population of social science practitioners within the field of mediation. However, given the complexity of domestic violence as a topic and the potential for serious adverse consequences for victims, mediators should be held to strict qualification standards. Credentials in relevant areas of social science should be highly preferred.
Qualifications for mediators allowed to take cases involving domestic violence should be strict. California uses a particularly desirable set of standards when defining the mediation requirements for child custody and visitation cases that could be transposed over to domestic violence mediation. The statute requires that the mediator meet the minimum qualifications of a counselor of conciliation, which requires a master’s degree in a behavioral science field, along with at minimum two years of practical experience in counseling or therapy. Additionally, the standards impose continuing education requirements for the mediator. California’s standards call for a high barrier to entry for mediators when compared to other states, which often impose little to no formal domestic violence education requirements and barebones professional training.
Unfortunately, not all court systems can implement high standards. The need for the intellectual development in the field of mediation continues to be hampered by the scarcity of finances and resources plaguing numerous mediation programs. For certain jurisdictions, the proposed requirements may not be viable due to a lack of available professionals.
Districts that cannot afford or locate qualified professionals should adjust by implementing a total bar on mediation of domestic violence cases. Use of the total bar model in financially or professionally limited mediation programs protects victims from adverse outcomes created by mediator inexperience. Programs may still employ the MASIC and contribute to data collection with little to no burden on operating costs. All mediation programs should screen for domestic violence, regardless of model type, both for the purpose of data collection and the protection of mediation parties. If additional research shows the effectiveness of mediators with intermediate professional qualifications (e.g., individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a related social science field) and effective screening tools, mediator standards could feasibly be relaxed in the future.
While not the most effective outcome from either a victims’ rights or a cost-efficiency perspective, the lack of data regarding mediation involving domestic violence favors an exclusive rather than an inclusive approach. Programs attempting to mediate cases involving domestic violence should adopt a top-down approach, allowing only qualified professionals with significant education and experience to handle such matters. Intermediate professionals can potentially be phased in as the body of academic knowledge grows and techniques to handle domestic violence are developed further. In essence, permitting only the most qualified individuals to handle domestic violence cases allows the maximum possible care to be utilized in order to avoid potentially serious consequences.
When considering policies concerning the mediation of cases involving domestic violence, program administrators, courts, and state legislatures should be mindful of what is practically accomplishable given the current state of social science evidence and the program’s finances. Research regarding the impact of domestic violence in mediation settings is exceptionally limited, and empirical data is even more scarce. Due to the current lack of empirical studies, mediation programs are often without the necessary data to make informed decisions about policies regarding domestic violence. With these limitations in mind, mediation programs should adopt a cautious, exclusive approach to attempting to mediate cases involving domestic violence and be mindful of their programs’ respective limitations.
However, mediation programs and legislatures should not feel hamstrung by uncertainty. There are many steps mediation programs can take to provide safer mediation experiences for litigants at relatively little cost to the court system. A potential method would be to adopt the MASIC, a public domain testing device designed particularly for mediators. The adoption of the MASIC would not only alleviate issues of poor screening, but also could be used to gather empirical data regarding outcomes of mediations involving domestic violence.
Additionally, courts should favor a “bar with waiver” model of mediating cases, which would allow for the greatest expression of victim autonomy and access to court remedies while protecting the health and safety of the victim. Other proposed models leave either too much discretion to the court or mediator to determine the appropriateness of mediation based on a personal estimation of the victim’s capacity (“good cause” model) or potentially prevent lower income individuals from seeking a remedy by imposing an absolute bar (“total bar” model). By contrast, the “bar with waiver” model ensures an automatic consideration of victim health and autonomy by disallowing mediation unless the victim feels comfortable mediating. Whatever policy state courts and mediation programs choose to adopt for mediating domestic violence, the priority should always be the safety of the victim.
Stronger qualifications for family law mediators are necessary. The current standards leave victims in the care of mediators unequipped to evaluate or handle the implications of domestic violence. Formalizing mediation practice requirements to include formal education on domestic violence—as opposed to modest trainings requiring little actual time commitment for such a complex and serious subject—would further protect against adverse outcomes for victims. Mindfulness towards limitations in resources and mediator qualifications should always be considered when crafting mediation policy.
Unfortunately, the laws of many jurisdictions have failed to adequately address domestic violence. For an issue as serious as domestic violence, there have been relatively few reform efforts to keep mediation in lockstep with domestic violence research. Issues raised over two decades ago still persist. Victims deserve better. Adopting the proposed reforms would constitute an important first step in modernizing mediation practice.
 J.D. Candidate, The Ohio State University, Class of 2021.
 See, e.g., Doug Marfice, The Mischief of Court-Ordered Mediation, 39 Idaho L. Rev. 57, 58–59 (2002) (describing the origin and development of alternative dispute resolution programs in the 1980s); Andree G. Gagnon, Note, Ending Mandatory Divorce Mediation for Battered Women, 15 Harv. Woman’s L.J. 272 (1992) (describing mediation as a widely accepted alternative to traditional proceedings).
 See, e.g., Me. R. Civ. P. 92(b) (2016).
 See, e.g., N.C. Fam. Ct. Dom. R. 9 (2020).
 See Gagnon, supra note 2, at 272.
 See generally id.; Megan G. Thompson, Comment, Mandatory Mediation and Domestic Violence: Reformulating the Good-Faith Standard, 86 Or. L. Rev. 599 (2007); Nancy Ver Steegh, Yes, No, and Maybe: Informed Decision Making About Divorce Mediation in the Presence of Domestic Violence, 9 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 145 (2003).
 See generally Ohio Domestic Violence Law §15:23 (Ronald B. Adrine et al. eds., 2019) (describing the process and product of mediation in the context of domestic violence as ineffectual).
 Linda D. Elrod, 2 Kansas Law and Practice §16:18 (2019).
 Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators § 1 (2005).
 See Ohio Domestic Violence Law §15:23 (describing how existing power structures tend to favor the abuser in a mediation setting).
 Traditionally, domestic violence is considered to take three major forms: sexual violence, psychological abuse, and physical aggression, although some academics consider stalking a fourth form. See Mindy B. Mechanic et al., Mental Health Consequences of Intimate Partner Abuse, 24 Violence Against Women 634, 635–36 (2008). The symptomology and severity of an individual’s condition considerably vary based on the manner in which the abuse was conducted. Id.
 Id. at 637 (finding that “PTSD and depression are the most commonly identified disorders”). The researchers found that moderate to severe PTSD was observed in roughly 76% of the sample and moderate to severe depression in 71.4% of the observed sample. Id. at 643–44.
 Id. at 648 (noting inferences from other literature suggesting that recovery from abuse is hampered by ecological stressors and that repeated abuse tended to be the most frequent among women with fewer resources).
 Lisa Goodman et al., Women’s Resources and Use of Strategies as Risk and Protective Factors for Reabuse over Time, 11 Violence Against Women 311, 327–29 (2005) (finding that victims with more material and social resources are less likely to indicate further abuse).
 See Shirley A. McPherson-Sexton, A Comprehensive View of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Populations, Etiology, Treatments, and More, 6 J. Police Crisis Negot. 93, 101–05 (2008) (describing the symptomology of PTSD and its impact on behavior). Particularly worth noting is that the prognosis and mental effects of PTSD are highly dependent on the individual circumstances underlying the patient’s condition. Id. at 102.
 See, e.g., Mich. Ct. R 3.216(D)(3)(b) (2020) (allowing exemption to mediation for domestic violence cases unless attorneys for both parties will be present at the mediation session).
 See, e.g., Mont. Code. Ann. § 40-4-301(2) (2013) (stating “Unless each of the parties provides written, informed consent, the court may not authorize or permit continuation of mediated negotiations if the court has reason to suspect [domestic violence]”). Montana previously used a “total bar” model prior to the statute being amended in 2013. See Hendershot v. Westphal, 253 P.3d 806 (2011) (requiring a “total bar” when the court had “reason to suspect” the relationship was abusive); see also Ky. Rev. Stat. § 403.036 (2012) (permitting waiver if requested by the victim).
 See, e.g., N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 50-13.1(c) (2015) (allowing for waiver on motion of the party or by the court’s volition).
 See, e.g., Fla. Stat. Ann. § 44.102(c) (2005) (prohibiting the mediation of domestic violence cases that would compromise the mediation process); see also Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-22-311(1) (2012) (prohibiting a court from ordering mediation in any case where a party claims domestic abuse has occurred).
 See, e.g., Ala. Code. §6-6-20 (1975) (imposing a total bar on mediation of child custody cases involving domestic violence but using a bar with waiver in other circumstances given certain stipulations); see also Eduardo R.C. Capulong, Family Mediation After Hendershot: The Case for Uniform Domestic Violence Screening and Opt-In Provision in Montana, 74 Mont. L. Rev. 273, 278–79 (2013) (describing the variations between Montana district courts). State statutes also differ on who bears the responsibility for invoking the exception to the mediation order: some courts, such as Montana, require the court to independently investigate, whereas others require the party to move for the exception. Id.
 See Robin H. Ballard et al., Detecting Intimate Partner Violence in Family and Divorce Mediation: A Randomized Trial of Intimate Partner Violence Screening, 17 Psych., Pub. Pol’y & L. 241, 243 (2011).
 Id. (noting that while 80% of 149 mediator programs surveyed screened for domestic violence in some way, only half used formalized screening tools).
 Amy Holtzworth-Munroe et al., The Mediator’s Assessment of Safety Issues and Concerns (MASIC): A Screening Interview for Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse Available in the Public Domain, 48 Fam. Ct. Rev. 646, 648 (2010) (discussing the in-house efforts of the Indiana University law school clinic before adopting a systematic screening process).
 See Susan Landrum, The Ongoing Debate About Mediation in the Context of Domestic Violence: A Call for Empirical Studies of Mediation Effectiveness, 12 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 425, 449–51 (2011) (describing variation between mediation programs regarding the significance of screening); see also Capulong, supra note 20, at 280 (describing significant variation between Montana state court judges in screening methods). There has been disagreement over the necessity to create universal screening methods. See Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 646. However, current literature supports the proposition that systemic screening provides superior detection rates. Id.
 See Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 647 (noting that there is almost no domestic violence research concerning pro se litigants in meditation); Fernanda S. Rossi et al., Detection of Intimate Partner Violence and Recommendation for Joint Family Mediation: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Screening Measures, 21 Psychol. Pub. Pol’y & L. 239, 250 (2015) (describing the need for empirical information regarding favorability of outcomes for parties reporting domestic violence).
 See Isabel Ruiz-Pérez et al., Methodological Issues in the Study of Violence Against Women, 61 J. Epidemiological & Cmty. Health ii26, ii26–i30 (2007).
 See id. at ii27 (using the example of Spain’s collection methods to illustrate that the majority of indicators used are taken from secondary sources such as police records, clinical records, and legal registers). Data regarding male victims of domestic violence are particularly scarce, due to a myriad of issues regarding data collection and social conceptualizations of domestic violence. Lisa D. Mills et al., The Prevalence of Female-to-Male Intimate Partner Violence in an Urban Emergency Department, 25 J. Emergency Med. 215 (2003) (noting few studies have evaluated female-to-male domestic violence).
 See Ruiz-Pérez et al., supra note 27, at ii27. For example, the Conflicts Tactics Scale (CTS) is based on conflict theory, whereas the abusive behavior inventory (ABI) reflects a feminist theory of violence. Id. Cross-referencing multiple datasets using differing tests therefore is often impractical. See id.
 See Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 648.
 See Linda D. Elrod, 2 Kansas Law and Practice, Family Law §16:18 (2021).
 See Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 648 (noting that mediators that do not use systematic screening methods under-detect domestic violence). Another study conducted on couples seeking marital therapy indicated in a therapeutic setting, less than 10% of all couples sampled reported domestic violence on their own initiative. Id. at 646–47.
 Id. at 648 (noting that in a study conducted by the researchers, mediators unaided by a screening test did not detect domestic violence in half the cases involving domestic violence as reported by a screening test).
 See Rossi et al., supra note 35, at 240. Researchers found that around 80% of mediation programs surveyed had a detection method to assess domestic violence, but only 38% used a formal questionnaire or interview. Id.
 For a practical anecdote of how mediation can adversely affect victims of domestic violence, see Gagnon, supra note 2, at 279–80 (detailing the experience of a woman required to mediate with her abusive spouse). The issue of domestic violence is often complex and can frequently elude easy categorical classification of a binary victim-perpetrator narrative. See Günnur Karakurt & Kristin E. Silver, Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships: The Role of Gender and Age, 28 Violence & Victims 804, 806 (2013) (describing the relationship between gender and domestic violence as “not as unambiguous and unilateral as was once assumed”).
 See Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 647. Current data indicates that most family law disputes involve pro se litigants. See id.
 See id. at 648 (reporting that half of tested mediators without any assistance did not properly detect the presence of domestic violence between parties). See also, Ballard et al., supra note 21 at 253–54 (finding mediators report a high level of false negatives even when parties self-reported physical violence).
 Ballard et al., supra note 21 at 246, 253–54.
 Jane C. Murphy & Robert Rubinson, Domestic Violence and Mediation: Responding to the Challenges of Crafting Effective Screens, 39 Fam. L. Q. 53, 62–63 (2005).
 Id. at 63–64.
 See id. at 64 (stating that “only a handful of laws make any reference to screening”). Research has found that states that employ screening tools have “serious shortcoming[s] and raise questions about the comprehensiveness and adequacy of screening in general.” Id. at 62 (quoting a 1995 study on domestic violence questionnaires).
 Id. at 64. (describing state laws that do reference screenings as “say[ing] little or nothing about who should do it or how it should be done”). The few state laws that reference screening do not anticipate any screening by court personnel and make mediators primarily responsible for screening. Id.
 Ohio Sup. R. § 16.24(A)(1)(a) (2021).
 See Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 64. See, e.g., Ohio Sup. R. § 16.24(A)(1)(a) (2021) (requiring a court to “[e]stablish screening procedures for the capacity of parties to mediate”).
 See Ballard, supra note 21, at 243. Other fields such as medicine and marital therapy have already recognized the necessity of systematic screening for effective detection of domestic violence. Id. at 243–44.
 Yishai Boyarin, Court-Connected ADR—A Time of Crisis, A Time of Change, 95 Marq. L. Rev. 993, 998 (2012).
 See id.
 Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 648.
 See id; see also Rossi et al., supra note 26, at 240.
 See Boyarin, supra note 49, at 1022–23.
 See Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 648.
 See, e.g., Gagnon, supra note 2, 279–81 (describing the experience of an anonymous woman dubbed “Kim” participating in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau); Sarah Krieger, Note, The Dangers of Mediation in Domestic Violence Cases, 8 Cardozo Women’s L. J. 235, 246–48 (2002) (describing the experience of female mediators recounting their own mediation experiences with their abuser).
 See, e.g., Susan L. Pollet, Mediating Domestic Violence, 77 N.Y. St. B. J. 42, 43 (2005) (describing that the majority of domestic violence victim advocates caution against mediation); Laurel Wheeler, Comment, Mandatory Family Mediation and Domestic Violence, 26 S. Ill. U. L. J. 559, 572 (2002) (advocating that cases with a history of domestic violence should not be mediated).
 See generally Rossi et al., supra note 26; Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23. One of the primary issues with domestic violence data collection is that many studies use conflicting data or frameworks that cannot be cross-referenced. See Ruiz-Pérez et al., supra note 27, at ii28. Adopting a uniform screening device would allow for researchers to work from a common dataset, which could be used to compare the efficacy of certain policy models between participating jurisdictions.
 See Ruiz-Pérez et al., supra note 27.
 See, e.g., Ohio Sup. R. § 16.24(A)(1)(a) (2021).
 See Ballard, supra note 21, at 243. “Minimum industry standards” in this context means using a formal, standardized screening tool with an accepted inventory such as the Conflict Tactics Scale as opposed to an untested, informal test.
 See generally Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23.
 Id. at 649.
 Id. at 655–62.
 Rossi et al., supra note 26, at 247.
 Holtzworth-Munroe et al., supra note 23, at 649.
 Id. at 653.
 See Rossi et al., supra note 26, at 250.
 See id. at 241 (noting that preliminary research has indicated that that the MASIC is a reliable and valid test, but requires more extensive evaluation).
 See id. at 249–250.
 Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 67. Alison E. Gerencser, Family Mediation: Screening for Domestic Abuse, 23 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 43, 69 (1995) (suggesting screening at all levels of the mediation process).
 See Rossi et al., supra note 26, at 248.
 See, e.g., Barbara J. Hart, Gentle Jeopardy: The Further Endangerment of Battered Women and Children in Custody Mediation, 7 Mediation Q. 317, 321 (1990) (“[T]he battered woman is not free to choose. She is not free to elect or reject mediation if the batterer prefers it, not free to identify and advocate components essential for her autonomy and safety and that of her children . . ..”). Krieger, supra note 55, at 245 (stating that domestic violence victims are never appropriate candidates for mediation); Wheeler, supra note 56, at 571 (advocating for use of a total bar on mediating cases involving domestic violence).
 See, e.g., Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 192 (expressing approval of a “victim choice” model wherein mediation cannot be given unless consented to by the victim and the victim is provided particular accommodations by a specialized mediator with training in domestic violence).
 See id. at 196 (stating that the decision-making regarding mediation should begin and end with the victim); Wheeler, supra note 56, at 571 (expressing disapproval over allowing judges to determine if cases involving domestic violence should proceed in mediation, no matter how well trained the judge may be); James Martin Truss, Comment, The Subjection of Women . . . Still: Unfulfilled Promises of Protection for Women Victims of Domestic Violence, 26 St. Mary’s L. J. 1149, 1186–87 (1995) (criticizing Texas judicial mediation discretion in cases involving domestic violence). But see Kerry Loomis, Note, Domestic Violence and Mediation: A Tragic Combination for Victims in California Family Court, 35 Cal. W. L. Rev. 335, 368 (1999) (advocating for placing the discretion to deny or approve mediation in cases involving domestic violence with the judge).
 See Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 186 (acknowledging that in some cases the power balance differential is so great as to make mediation impossible).
 See Hart, supra note 74, at 321; see also Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 55–56 (describing this oft-held criticism as the “Power Critique”).
 Hart, supra note 74. at 320.
 Lenore E. Walker, The Battered Woman Syndrome 194 (2000).
 See, e.g., Karakurt & Silver, supra note 37; Mechanic et al., supra note 11.
 See Brittney R. Chesworth, Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration: Moving Toward a Comprehensive Conceptual Framework, 9 Partner Abuse 75 (2018) (criticizing the “one-size-fits-all” approach of pervious academics with regards to domestic violence and describing the numerous variations in perpetrator methodology).
 See generally Deborah M. Capaldi et al., A Systematic Review of Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence, 3 Partner Abuse 231 (2012) (detailing various methods of domestic violence and risk factors associated with domestic violence perpetration and victimization); Debra Houry, et al., Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health Symptoms in African American Female ED Patients, 24 Am. J. Emergency Med. 444, 448 (2006) (describing relationship between severity of mental health symptoms associated with intimate partner violence and socioeconomic status); see also Mahin Delara, Mental Health Consequences and Risk Factors of Physical Intimate Partner Violence, 12 Mental Health Fam. Med. 119, 121–22 (2016) (describing the range of women’s mental health responses as “preventable and treatable” to “fatal”).
 See René L. Rimelspach, Mediating Family Disputes in a World with Domestic Violence: How to Devise a Safe and Effective Court-Connected Mediation Program, 17 Ohio St. J. Disp. Resol. 95, 100–01 (2001).
 See id.
 See id. at 101–02 (suggesting that mediation may be superior the traditional litigation process and the adversarial system of traditional litigation creates more harm than benefit to the domestic violence victim); see also Landrum, supra note 25, at 465–66 (noting that mediation performs better compared to other forms of alternative dispute resolution as well as the limited number of studies regarding mediation outcomes for cases involving domestic violence).
 See, e.g., Truss, supra note 76, at 1187 (disapproving of judicial discretion in the context of domestic violence and proposing a total bar model); Wheeler, supra note 56, at 571 (expressing the same concerns). See generally Thompson, supra note 6 (proposing reforms to the “good cause” standard, referred to as “good faith”).
 See, e.g., N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 50-13.1(c) (2015); Ark. Code Ann. § 9-12-322(d) (2001).
 See, e.g., Jessica Pearson, Court Services: Meeting the Needs of Twenty-First Century Families, 33 Fam. L. Q. 617, 628 (1999) (noting that judges sitting on family law cases in some instances “display either a lack of interest, a lack of temperament, or a lack of understanding with respect to [family law] cases. . . .”); Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 162 (noting judges often lack training on families issues); Wheeler supra note 56, at 571 (noting safety concerns); Truss supra note 76, at 1187 (noting potential for abuse); Thompson, supra note 6, at 603 (noting conflict of interest for judges in clearing congested dockets and saving on costs).
 Truss, supra note 76, at 1197 (noting that some judges “demonstrate a dangerous lack of understanding of domestic violence . . .”).
 See Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 65 (noting the “great pressure” on court personnel to utilize mediation to clear their dockets).
 See, e.g., Rega v. L.S.R., 5 A.3d 666 (Me. 2010) (ruling that the trial court acted within its discretion in declining an order to mediate).
 Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 60–61.
 See Ver Steegh, supra note 6 at 197 (describing the benefits of allowing victims to choose when given the ability to make an informed choice). It is worth noting, however, that the appropriateness of mediation must still be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with certain instances of domestic violence presenting such a significant threat that mediation would either be improper or unsafe regardless of the victim’s stated desire to mediate. See id. at 147.
 Id. at 192–93 (describing a variation on the bar with waiver model as “victim choice”).
 Id. at 172–73 (stating “mediation empowers the parties to make their own substantive decisions . . . . Because of this individual orientation, mediated agreements tend to more detailed and specific”).
 See generally id.
 Id. at 174 (“Most studies have also found that mediation is less expensive that the traditional court process.”).
 See, e.g., Capaldi et al., supra note 83 (finding socioeconomic status as a risk factor for increased domestic violence).
 See Holtzworth-Munroe, supra note 23, at 647 (quoting a previous study that indicated that family court cases that have at least one pro se client range from fifty-five to ninety percent).
 Paul Steven Miller, A Just Alternative or Just an Alternative? Mediation and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 62 Ohio St. L. J. 11, 12–13 (2001) (describing mediation as an alternative method of achieving justice for many who would otherwise be without recourse).
 See, e.g., Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 195 (noting that experts agree that some categories of domestic violence cases should not be mediated); Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 59–60 (stating that the Model Standards, which were generated through a widespread collaboration of individuals and professional organizations, recognize that some cases are not suitable for mediation due to safety or intimidation issues).
 See id. Cf. Rimelspach, supra note 84, at 100 (recognizing that there is “opposition to mediation when domestic violence is present”).
 See Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 185–86 (noting that “women who are dealing with ongoing and episodic male batter or psychotic and paranoid reactions . . . may have more difficulty mediating. . . . Similarly, women suffering from ‘battered women’s syndrome’ or PTSD may have difficulty standard up for themselves.”).
 See Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 56 (explaining that one of the common criticisms of the “power critique” is the lack of mediator quality control); see also, Penelope E. Bryan, Killing Us Softly: Divorce Mediation and the Politics of Power, 40 Buff. L. Rev. 441, 499 (1992) (criticizing contemporaneous divorce mediation training programs for requiring only 40 hours of subject matter training).
 This paper proposes that ideal family law mediator standards include the completion of a graduate-level social science program specializing in domestic abuse and several years of professional experience in that context. See infra Part III.
 See Landrum, supra note 25, at 458 (noting that scholars have advocated for additional collaboration between mediators and domestic violence professionals).
 Id. at 454–57 (describing an argument for more extensive training standards); Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 60–61 (noting that governing statutes contemplate special treatment for domestic violence victims, but few give specific directions regarding how to effectuate that goal); see, e.g., Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 1825(A)(2) (1998) (outlining a modest training requirement to qualify as a divorce and family mediator); Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. § 154.052(b) (2017) (requiring twenty-four hours of training in family dynamics as well as a minimum of four hours of family violence dynamics training).
 See Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 189–90 (noting that some states require no training or credentials at all, and a substantial portion of mediators do not regularly attend domestic violence training programs).
 See Claudia Lanzetta, Mediation/Collaborative Law: Exploring a New Combination in Alternative Dispute Resolution, 20 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 329, 348 (2019) (noting a lack of legislative mandate on training requirements). For a comprehensive list of court-certified mediator requirements, see Court-Certified Mediator Qualification Requirements in the US, https://legalstudiesms.com/learning/court-certified-mediator-qualification-requirements/ [https://perma.cc/R6PD-D6RK] (last visited Apr. 13, 2021). See also Murphy & Rubinson, supra note 41, at 71 (providing an appendix for court-sponsored mediation programs policy on domestic violence).
 See, e.g., Uniform Mediation Act, Wash. Rev. Code § 7.07 (2005) (containing no state-wide qualifications for mediators).
 See, e.g., The Judicial Branch of Arizona Maricopa County, Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediators (2014), https://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/AlternativeDisputeResolution/Mediators/ [https://perma.cc/GF63-RH4W].
 See, e.g., Art Hinshaw, Regulating Mediators, 21 Harv. Negot. L. Rev. 163, 197–201 (2016) (noting the overall lack of regulation in the field of mediation and advocating for increased regulation of mediation practice); Alyson Carrel & Lin Adrian, Regulating Mediator Practice, 24 No. 1 Disp. Resol. Mag. 21, 25 (2017) (arguing that most mediation regulations do little to protect consumers and lack numerous substantive provisions regarding qualifications); Robert Rubinson, Indigency, Secrecy and Questions of Quality: Minimizing the Risk of “Bad” Mediators, 100 Marq. L. Rev. 1353, 1371–73 (2017) (commenting on the high level of variation in court-connected mediation programs).
 Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation, Standard X(B) (2001).
 See, e.g., Mont. Code Ann. § 40-4-307 (West 2020) (requiring “knowledge in the area of domestic violence”).
 The Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution, Training Program Standards – Specialized Domestic Abuse Issues and Mediation (2019), https://www.supremecourtofohio.gov/JCS/disputeResolution/resources/trainingProgramStandards/specDomAbuseIssuesMed.pdf [https://perma.cc/AT8D-9GGD]; Ohio Sup. R. 16.23(B) (West 2020). Ohio accounts somewhat for its lax educational and training requirements by requiring at least two years of professional experience “with families” which can include casework, legal representation, or other equivalent experience “satisfactory to the court.” Id. Ohio does require an additional training in its “Specialized Child Protection Mediation Training” to accept cases from a court involving domestic violence, which can be completed in under 40 hours. The Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution, Training Program Standards – Specialized Child Protection Mediation (2020), https://www.supremecourtofohio.gov/JCS/disputeResolution/resources/trainingProgramStandards/specChildProtectionMed.pdf [https://perma.cc/DBE3-SWSF]. Worth noting, however, is this training is only required prior to accepting a referral from a court for disputes and does not provide guidance when evidence of domestic violence emerges post-referral. See Ohio Sup. R. 16.23(B) (West 2020).
 See Cal. Fam. Code § 3164(b) (West 2020) (requiring that a mediator meet the minimum standards of a counselor of conciliation); see also id. § 1815 (West 2020) (providing the definition of counselor of conciliation as requiring at a minimum a master’s degree in a related behavioral science and experiential training in domestic violence issues).
 See Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 188–90.
 Id. at 188 (noting that a 1983 study found that mediators often hold graduate degrees in social work, psychology, and therapy).
 Katherine M. Reihing, Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Children After Divorce: The American Law Institute’s Model, 37 Fam. & Conciliation Cts. Rev. 393, 401 (1999) (describing the America Law Institute’s proposed model requiring specialized training in domestic violence for mediators).
 See Fam. § 3164(b).
 Id. § 1815.
 Id. § 1816.
 See, e.g., Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 2.2 (West 2020) (allowing for, inter alia, a mediator to practice domestic custody relations mediation with a law degree and coursework in family law, provided the completion of training and minimum experience requirements). Note that the statute does not require the mediator to be a bar-licensed attorney. Id. The training requirement includes forty hours of domestic relation custody and parenting mediation curriculum, plus thirty-five cases consisting of at least 350 hours in domestic relations mediation in addition to regular mediator experiential requirements. Id. § 3.3.
 See Boyarin, supra note 49, at 999 (noting that the demand for mediation has increased, yet resources allocated to mediation programs have on the whole decreased).
 Douglas D. Knowlton & Tara Lea Muhlhauser, Mediation in the Presence of Domestic Violence: Is It the Light at the End of the Tunnel or Is a Train on the Track?, 70 N.D. L. Rev. 225, 264–65 (1994) (highlighting the importance of proper education due to the generally unregulated field of mediation).
 See Ver Steegh, supra note 6, at 190 (advocating for specialized training requirements for mediators attempting to take cases involving domestic violence).
 See Rossi et al., supra note 26, at 250.