The integration of advocacy and mediation in human services is of paramount importance because most of the individuals who are party to disputes are ignorant of their rights under the law and hence are liable to be taken for a ride by unscrupulous individuals. This integration process calls for a qualified and experienced individual whose stature in the society will attract the trust and confidence of all the disputing parties. This individual who acts both as an advocate and mediator needs to be well-versed and qualified to deal with ethical, moral, and legal issues; above all, he should be impartial and unbiased during the entire mediation process (The Association of Attorney-Mediators, 2001).
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There are also advocacy groups which exert considerable influence on government to enact or change laws so as to be in line with the beliefs that the group advocates. The onsumer Protection Group and the Center for Auto Safety founded by Ralph Nader are glaring examples of such advocacy groups. The mediation is a process whereby the parties of a dispute seek help from a mediator who is qualified enough to help the disputing parties resolve the issue (http://www.adr.af.mil/compendium). It is a form of alternative dispute resolution and is based on the deep-rooted primary principle of allowing the disputing parties to arrive at a resolution which is mutually beneficial. A successful and fruitful mediation can only occur when all the parties of the dispute agree to come to terms with the help from a well-qualified and experienced mediator. The selected mediator has excellent advocacy rapport with the bureaucracy. He should also be able to have confidential discussions and apply techniques which are oriented towards looking after the fair interests of all parties. It is not always possible to resolve mediation with a settlement, and some processes are successfully resolved without any settlement. Mediation is primarily a win-win solution to a dispute.
The County of Ventura Human Services Agency is another classic example where the integration of advocacy and mediation in human services is vital. This agency takes care of disputes arising from child and adult abuse. Since in most cases the victim is unaware of his or her rights, it is absolutely essential that a knowledgeable and unbiased person should ensure that justice is done.
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