What is advocacy?
Independent advocacy is taking action to help you say what you want, secure your rights, represent your interests and obtain services you need. Advocates work in partnership with the people they support and take your side.
- offers to get information on your behalf to help you come to a decision
- helps you to explore the pros and cons of a situation
- helps you to weigh up your options
- supports you to speak up for yourself to say what you want
- makes sure you are always at the centre of decisions about you
- helps you to feel in control
- is independent from service providers, your family or carers so is free to help you work out what is best for you
- keeps your confidence (unless there is a risk to you or someone else)
An Advocate does not:
- give you advice about what to do
- tell you what they think you should do
- express their opinion
- try to convince you to do something
- have a hidden agenda
How can advocacy help you?
To show how important advocacy is and how our team of Advocates' can support you through your journey, we have produced a short video, Voices of Advocacy, to demonstrate what advocacy means to the vulnerable people we help.
Types of advocacy
There are different kinds of advocacy to suit different support needs. You might need different types of advocacy at different times:
Case advocacy is often shorter-term support to sort out an issue or issues
Citizen advocacy is often longer-term support and can be provided by a paid or volunteer advocate
Self advocacy is giving you the skills and abilities to speak up for yourself
Peer advocacy is where the advocate shares similar experiences or circumstances with you because sometimes people who have experienced the same things feel they have a better understanding and can be more supportive. This can be provided in a group.
Statutory Advocacy provides a legal right to advocacy support if you are in certain circumstances:
- Independent Care Act Advocacy (ICAA) supports people to be involved in decisions made about them and their care and support.
- Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy(IMCA) supports people who are unable to make some decisions for themselves
- Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) works alongside people subject to the Mental Health Act, specifically around their care and treatment, ensuring their rights are upheld.
- Relevant Person’s Representative ensures that the rights of a person being deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act are protected.