Minimising the distress for children during divorce

Every year, 25,000 children in Norway experience their parents divorcing. Moreover, although many breakups are amicable, a lot end up in conflict, something which puts enormous strain on the children. Therefore, mediation is vital in reducing that strain, because even though couples fall apart, parenthood continues.

Due to earlier surveys  on family counselling,  Bufdir wanted to pursue opportunities for innovation and improvement. Findings concluded that there were geographical and professional differences among Norwegian mediation services and that family counselling tasks had increased in complexity as a result of more diverse user groups. Therefore,  the goal has been  to create an improved mediation service – one that’s more user-centred and dependable.

The jury’s verdict

(Jury's verdict can be read in Norwegian on www.doga.no)

"The new mediation service by Bufdir is a great project! It is not that couples go through a divorce knowing how to proceed with the divorce without causing stress and sorrow for their children. The fact that Bufdir offers a differentiated mediation course can potentially save both parents and children from lasting wounds. The process has been comprehensive, both concerning the training of employees and course holders and the specific solution the families will use.

The service was piloted and tested in 2016 and 2017, and the results show a marked improvement in how many families took advantage of the measures related to the program. Among other things, 65 per cent followed more than one increase with guidance, against the national average of 45 per cent, and as much as 40 per cent of families with a high level of conflict came to mutual agreements, compared with 32 per cent earlier. This once again shows what effective approach service design can be in designing services that work.

We will also take this opportunity to honour Bufdir on the fine tradition they have already established in using service design to improve their services. "

About DOGA Award for Design and Architecture

The award is a distinction awarded by DOGA to Norwegian businesses and designers who demonstrate the outstanding use of design and architecture. The award is leading to its kind in Norway. The award showcases and spotlights exemplary projects of innovative and user-centred solutions. The jury focuses primarily on the process and collaboration between the commissioning party and design practitioner.