What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is about making sure that people’s rights are protected, that their views, wishes and feelings are heard and listened to, that they are supported to make their own informed choices, to be independent and to change things to make them better.
At some point in our lives, most of us will speak up for ourselves and others about certain issues or we may hope that someone will speak up for us. Unfortunately, there are some people who may need more help than other because they are at a greater risk of being ignored and not listened to or perhaps they do not have the ability to speak up for themselves. Independent advocates work with the person to help put them in control of their own life.
What does an advocate do?
- Listen to the person and ask them questions to understand what they want or feel
- Help the person to find information and explain what might happen if they make one choice or another choice
- Give the person time to think about their choices
- Help the person to say what they want to say
- Speak for the person on their behalf if they want them to
What will an advocate not do?
- Give the person advice or make decisions for them. An advocate will not tell the person what they should do
- Take someone else’s side
- Work with the person all of the time or keep working with them when their issue is resolved
- Work with the person if the person does not want them to
- Support the person with day-to-day tasks and activities
Types of Advocacy
This is one-to-one advocacy that is provided by a trained advocate to deal with a specific issue but not provided under a statutory obligation. SAtA provides a community advocacy services for people with learning disabilities
Peer advocacy is when people who share something in common come together to help and support each other to advocate for themselves. SAtA facilitates a number of peer advocacy schemes.
Citizen advocates are volunteers who form long-term partnerships with another person and advocate for them on an on-going basis.
If you would like to consider being a citizen advocate please visit our volunteering page.