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Homepage > Archive > Numar: 4 > Non-violent Conflict Resolution in Peer Interactions: Croatian Experience of Peer Mediation in Schools

 Non-violent Conflict Resolution in Peer Interactions: Croatian Experience of Peer Mediation in Schools

  • Branka Peurača (University of Zagreb, Croatia. E-mail: )
  • Lucija Vejmelka (University of Zagreb, Croatia. E-mail:

The importance of the role of peers increases with the separation of adolescents from their parents and with the development of closer interaction with peers. These relationships have a significant impact on the attitudes, habits and behaviour of children and youths. Peer relationships are marked by intense interactions, and thus are susceptible to problems in communication and conflicts. Conflicts inevitably arise in all aspects of human life, but the way in which conflicts are resolved among children and youths greatly affects peer relationships. Nonstructural and violent conflict resolution is often characterised by deficiencies in communication and carries negative consequences for the young person. Therefore, it is important that young people improve their skills of constructive conflict resolution. This can be achieved through a programme of peer mediation. This article identifies the basic characteristics and features of peer mediation and detects points of contact between peer mediation and restorative justice. Lastly it presents the Croatian experience with challenges in implementing peer mediation in schools. The extent of the restorative elements in peer mediation practice depends on the way it is introduced and what is expected to be achieved: in those schools aiming at transforming the whole staff and student relationships, peer mediation is a restorative process, while in those where mediation is considered a way of fixing the problems among students by educating an isolated group of them to help them put it right, the restorative component is negligible.

Keywords: peer mediation, Croatia, conflict among peers, communication skills