Mediation in progress project aimed to develop mediation, especially on criminal and minor dispute cases concerning young people. The aim was to institutionalise mediation services for youth in the Republic of Karelia and to increase the accessibility of the service by establishing new mediation offices in the area.
One of the established mediation offices is located in Sortavala. The premises were renovated with the project funding and the volunteers needed for providing mediation services were recruited and trained as a project activity.
The Sortavala mediation office is now part of the functions of the Centre of Psycho-Medical-Social Support for Children. “Nobody even knew about this kind of service before the project” tells Sofia Chadrantseva, the director of the centre. Finnish partners had more experience on mediation and Ms Chadrantseva considers sharing those experiences extremely valuable in institutionalising mediation services in Karelia. “It was very useful to see in the trainings how mediation actually works. Acted cases gave a good understanding on mediation” Ms Chadrantseva assesses.
Now, two years after mediation was launched in Sortavala, 15 cases have been handled. Most of the cases were handed to the office by schools, parents or by the court but Ms Chadrantseva also remembers a case where children themselves came to the office to ask help for a dispute. Feedback from those involved in mediation has been positive. For Sofia Chadrantseva it is clear that the work continues: “A child is not bad or evil. We can help and prevent renewal of crimes.”