Rule change allows mediation for protection order cases

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Statewide court rule changes now allow mediation for certain civil criminal harassment protection orders.

Image of two people in the hallway of a building, with a sign in the foreground indicating the mediation conference room and an arrow pointing to the right

Statewide court rule changes now allow mediation for certain civil criminal harassment protection orders.

Some neighborhood disputes can now have a focus outside the courtroom.

A recent change in state-wide court rules established a mediation course for certain Criminal Harassment Emergency Preparedness (CSPO) orders. Prior to the enactment of Rules 16.30-16.32 in the Ohio Court Oversight Rules, mediation of protection orders was prohibited.

The legislator’s description of what is considered civil criminal harassment is broad. Someone can file a protection order for a property line, ”said Elizabeth Stephenson, administrator of the Tuscarawas County Common Plea Court.

Stephenson says some citizens are filing protection order requests in an attempt to resolve civil disputes, such as a neighbor mowing the lawn beyond its boundaries or others not cleaning up after their dogs. These can be best resolved through mediation.

However, not all CSPOs can be mediated. Factors that would prevent mediation as an option for a CSPO if the petition includes:

  • If the applicant is a family or household member of the accused
  • A sexual offense
  • Serious physical injuries
  • Part of an active criminal complaint.

Other factors – such as threats, fear of physical harm and intimidation – would force courts not to consider mediation for the parties.

Courts and mediators will be offered training to help determine which cases are eligible for mediation. Rules and forms for mediating civil stalking protection orders can be found on the Supreme Court website.


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