Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) were authorized by the state legislature in the 1984 Court Improvement Act, RCW.7.75. A DRC may be a private, nonprofit organization or a service of the local government. DRCs offer mediation as their primary conflict resolution service. In mediation, a trained neutral person helps people discuss and resolve problems, or at least narrow and clarify issues. The process encourages joint problem solving in which people gain an understanding of each other's point of view. Mediation provides a safe environment to talk through issues and feelings and to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution. The mediator is not a decision-maker.
Candidates for Mediation
Any civil, nonviolent dispute is a candidate for mediation. Some DRCs also accept criminal cases. For mediation to be successful, every participant must be willing to enter into good faith negotiations. Typical cases handled by DRCs involve: