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Please note, all names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.

Jimmy was a 16 year old who attended the local college.

He was living at his friend’s house.

His friend’s mum had agreed to take him in after he was thrown out of his own home by his mum, who would not have him in the house any longer due to his lack of personal care, and his lack of help around the house.

Jimmy had been away from home for two weeks and had now made a homelessness application to the local Council.

Mum was willing to try mediation, and the referral was sent to the DFA Mediation Service.

The service rang both parties, discussed the issues and talked about the mediation process, and how it could help people in conflict to resolve their differences in a calm and protected environment.

At the first meeting Jimmy arrived but Mum was called to an emergency, so a second meeting was quickly organised, at a local family centre.

The room used for the session had comfortable seating, and tea/coffee and biscuits were provided to ensure that everyone could easily concentrate on the issues at hand.

After three and a half hours of discussion ( with breaks ), Jimmy and his mum came up with a written agreement that talked about respect for each other, rules on having friends round and helping Mum around the house, and “to have regard for other people’s possessions, feelings and space“.

Both Mum and Jimmy signed this agreement, which then became a simple document that enabled them both to continue to live together with an understood level of tolerance.