Put very simply, while the investigation approach is about crime and punishment, mediation aims to rehabilitate both the victim and the bully.

Merely punishing a bully may not necessarily stop him/her bullying someone else in the future. But through mediation the bully may address the issues that led him/her to become a bully in the first place and so change his/her behaviour in future. Mediation is based on the assumption that people may have the power to change if they are given appropriate support to do so.

For victims, mediation may enable them to deal with – or even take control of – a very distressing situation and so become stronger in themselves.

While mediation can be a very positive method of resolving a bullying problem, it may not be appropriate in all circumstances.

Both the victim and the bully have to be willing to try to deal honestly with each other – if the process is to have value. If victims are too caught up with the idea of gaining revenge for the injustices they suffered, then mediation is unlikely to succeed.

Likewise if the bully sees the mediation process as an easy way to avoid disciplinary action and “get away with it” – rather than an opportunity to address the issues behind his/her behavioural problem, then mediation is unlikely to succeed.

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