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If you need help with speaking up then you can self refer to the agencies found in the advocacy services section above.

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What is Advocacy?

Definitions of Advocacy

“Taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice”. (Valuing People Lead 2009)
 
“Independent advocacy – a way to enable people to make informed choices about and to remain in control of their own care. Independent advocacy helps people have access to information they need, to understand options open to them and to make their views and wishes known. Independent advocacy is able to safeguard and protect the rights of people unable, for whatever reason, to speak up for themselves.” (Independent Advocacy A Guide for Commissioners, Scottish Executive
(2000))
 
“Independent advocacy involves a partnership between a concerned member of the community (advocate) and a person who may be feeling vulnerable, isolated or disempowered. The advocate provides support, information and representation with the aim of empowering their advocacy partner and enabling them to express their needs and choices. If necessary, the advocate can represent their partner’s wishes to another person or agency on their behalf. Disabled people, their organisations and many leading voluntary organisations welcome the use of advocacy and believe it is crucial to achieving the government’s vision of more choice and control for all disabled people.” (Office for Disability Issues)
 
“Advocacy means that the advocate subsumes their own ideas about what might be in an advocacy partner’s best interests, listens closely to their advocacy partner and articulates what they actually want, even if it seems not to be what the advocate would advise. Often in the course of a conversation with an advocate, as possible alternatives are discussed,
the information provided by the advocate may inform the advocacy partner’s decision.” (Royal College of Psychiatrists 2012)
 
“Sometimes more formal methods of advocacy are required and this is often referred to as Independent Advocacy. Advocacy is a tool that can be used in a variety of ways to ensure that minority and disadvantaged groups in society have a means to know about, and gain, the same life opportunities as others.” (Hampshire Advocacy website) 
 
“Advocacy in all its forms seeks to ensure that people are able to speak out, to express their views and defend their rights.” (MIND website)
 
“Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. “ (Action for Advocacy website)
 
“Independent Advocacy aims to achieve a more equal and just society. There are many people in our society who are ignored because they have difficulty in gaining the attention that is needed to make sure their views and opinions are listened to and acted upon. This leads to them being marginalized and often socially excluded.” (Advocacy Resource
Exchange website)
 
“Taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need.” (Independent Advocacy Campaign)
 
“Advocacy promotes equality, social justice and social inclusion. It aims to empower people to speak up for themselves.” (People’s Voices website) October 2012L Learn4Change