Parties and other participants in alternative dispute resolution (hereinafter ADR) expect to have their safety ensured throughout the ADR process. To assist judges and ADR practitioners1 in protecting the safety of those involved in ADR, the Association for Conflict Resolution (hereinafter ACR) established a task force on Safety in ADR composed of an innovative team of professionals to tackle this important issue.2 The charge of the task force was to “to investigate, deliberate, and recommend best practices for keeping conflict resolvers and their parties safe during conflict resolution processes.” This article will discuss some of the safety concerns examined by the task force and summarize key recommendations. The full report can be accessed on the ACR website.3
Task force members were very concerned about the growing number of occurrences of violence inside and outside of our courthouses and mediation rooms and the lack of safety protocols in many ADR settings. Consequently, they began by reviewing prior reported violent incidents in ADR cases. They also studied existing best practices developed by leading programs and recommended by scholars in the conflict resolution field to inform their recommendations.