MEDIATION ROLE PLAY
PARTIES: Mother: Lee-anne Jenkins (35)
Daughter: Charlene Kennedy (16)
Stepfather: Owen Jenkins (42)
Probation Officer: Ann James (undisclosed)
Charlene is a ’street kid’ on probation for street prostitution, possession and use of an illegal substance and attempted theft.
She has been released on the condition that she shall return home to live with her mother and her new stepfather. There are certain restrictions that must be observed regarding consorting with known criminals, an eleven p.m. curfew and reporting twice a week to Ms James.
The referral came, surprisingly, from the magistrate who had recently visited the Centre with a professional group. He hoped that suitable living arrangements might be made using the FMC model to reach mutual agreements. The FMC is understandably very keen for this mediation to be successful.
On the face of it, the prospects are not good. Charlene is sullen and apathetic, Ms James seems slightly cynical, Mrs Jenkins is obviously very anxious. An apprehensive Mr Jenkins is showing signs of distancing himself from the whole affair. “After all, she is YOUR daughter!” Nevertheless, the intake worker feels that the only possibility of the experiment being a success is for Charlene to become involved. A non-adversarial context seems to be the only hope for this.
You ran away from home at the age of fourteen because of domestic violence and sexual abuse by your father – now long gone. You have agreed to return home as an alternative to imprisonment. You don’t know how you will relate to your mother whom you always despised for failing to protect you, or herself, from your father. You do not like the restrictions that have been imposed and intend breaking them whenever you can get away with it, especially those relating to associating with your friends in St. Kilda. You are not too worried about Jenkins, he looks like one of those timid bible-bashing Johns who sneaks down to St.K to have it away. James is something else, she’s a real toughie, you will have to watch out for her.
You are very worried. You are pleased that Charlene is coming home but find it hard to believe that this tough little stranger is really your baby. Her eyes look so old, as though they have seen everything. She’s so thin! Home cooking will fix that.
You are worried about Owen. He is taking it very well considering you didn’t tell him about Charlene until you were married. He is such a gentle soul but you feel that he is still in a state of shock over Charlene’s record. You wonder how he is going to cope. There are so many things to think of; Sleeping arrangements, Either Owen will have to give up his den or you must lose your sewing room. She’ll have to do some housework while you are at the cakeshop but you think you had better do the shopping because of the money – well you never know what she might spend it on.
Frankly, you are bewildered by the whole thing. You have only been married for six months. You are living in your parents’ house, yours since their death two years ago. You were the devoted bachelor son looking after his ailing parents. You never thought of marriage or relationships while they were alive. What with the nursing, the Church and the Youth Club there didn’t seem much time. There were a couple of young ladies but Mum didn’t seem to take to them somehow. Now you are married to Lee-anne, an adventure in itself, and suddenly you find you’ve got a daughter.
A prostitute, a drug addict and a thief! You panic. You quickly offer up a silent prayer: “O Lord I pray that you will help me aid thy lost lamb Charlene that her eternal soul shall be saved from the everlasting flame, Amen,”
You feel a bit better and ready for the mediation.
For Ms Ann James
You have been a Probation Officer for longer than you care to remember. You are a professional and have the professional’s uneasiness at finding yourself involved in another discipline.
How exactly are you supposed to behave in a Mediation situation? You are used to being in charge. From what you hear you are going to be some sort of participant, answering all sorts of questions, and in the presence of the parolee! What sort of way is that to handle this one. God knows what it is going to lead to. You consider raising this at the next meeting of the Association.