What is Independent Advocacy?
Independent advocacy is a way to help you to make your voice stronger and to have as much control as possible over your own life. Advocacy Workers do not make decisions on your behalf and they will not put words in your mouth. Independent Advocacy will help you get the information you need to make good choices, and give you the help you need to express yourself clearly.
Our Advocacy is Independent because we are not financially or organisationally dependent on anyone who provides any other type of service. Independent advocacy is there to help you decide what you want to say and then support you to say it. Independent advocates do not work for hospitals, doctors or social work services, and you do not have to pay for advocacy.
Independent Advocacy can support you in a variety of situations. These could be formal or legal processes like applications for Guardianship under Adults with Incapacity, Mental Health Tribunals or attending a Children’s Hearing. Independent Advocacy can also support you in less structured circumstances like case conferences or care reviews. Although we can support you to make your views heard in a legal process, Ceartas Advocacy Workers are not qualified in law. If you need legal representation, we will be happy to help you find a lawyer.
There are several different types of Advocacy:
- Independent Professional Advocacy is provided by paid (or unpaid volunteer) Advocacy Workers. They will aim to support the person to represent their views, and if that is not possible they will represent the person’s views on their behalf. A professional Advocacy Worker will represent more than one person at a time, and the relationship will usually last only as long as the person requires Advocacy support.
- Citizen Advocacy is a way for ordinary people to build a one-to-one supportive relationship with people who need their support in the community. The principles remain the same: the advocate represents the person’s interests rather than their own, but the relationship will be long-term and open-ended.
- Collective or Group Advocacy is where a group of people or a community facing a common problem join forces and make collective representations to try and overcome it. A collective voice carries more weight than an individual, and a group acting in a concerted manner is more likely to succeed than many individuals all taking different approaches towards the issue.
- Self-Advocacy is a way for indivuduals to develop their communication skills and self-confidence in order top represent their own interests better. Self-Advocacy involves a group of people getting together to learn the skills and develop the self-belief and self-confidence they need to make their own voices heard, as well as finding out about their rights and the options available to them. Self-Advocacy groups will typically be short-term, but the desired outcome of people being empowered by Self-Advocacy will be an enduring trait.
- Peer Advocacy is where people share significant life experiences, like age, health issues, disability, ethnicity, and by building an enduring one-to-one relationship they can reduce the imbalance of power and influence that they experience.
Ceartas Advocacy provides Independent Professional Advocacy to people who fall within our nine community care groups, but we can also support and facilitate any other sort of Advocacy.
Read some of our Advocacy Stories to gain a better understanding of Independent Advocacy and how it can help you or someone you know
Need Independent Advocacy?
If you think that you need Independent Advocacy, or you would like more information about it, please leave some details and a member of staff will contact you.