Generic Advocacy

Advocacy Western Isles Independent Advocacy Provision

Independent Advocacy is about making sure the views and opinions of individuals are valued and respected and that they are treated as individuals and valued members of society.

Advocacy Western Isles provides a confidential service at no cost to the client.

Advocacy Western Isles provides issue based one to one, non-instructed and collective independent advocacy support to individuals in need throughout the Western Isles. Priority is given to those with mental health issues, people with a learning disability, the elderly and children and young people and parent/carers, those who are cared for and carers.

The role of independent advocacy is to support people to speak up for themselves to promote what they think is in their best interests. Ensuring their voice is heard, views are taken seriously, rights are explored and upheld and people are involved in decisions that are made about them.

Advocacy Key Principles

  • Independence
  • Loyalty
  • Inclusion and Respect
  • Empowerment
  • Safeguarding

Advocacy is About

  • Having your voice heard
  • Having your right and interests protected
  • Being safeguarded when you are unable to safeguard yourself
  • Being listened to
  • Having your views taken into account
  • Being treated as an equal

Advocacy is an empowering process

Models of Independent Advocacy

Advocacy Western Isles provides three models of advocacy:

One to one Advocacy stands alongside individuals helping them to represent their views, rights and what they believe is in their best interests.

Collective/Group Advocacy happens when a group of people who are all facing a common problem come together on a formal basis to support each other over specific issues.

Non-Instructed Advocacy happens when an individual can not tell their Independent Advocacy Worker what they want and usually takes place with people who have dementia or profound and/or severe learning difficulties. This can be a long process, taking time to get to know the person and significant others in their lives.

Why is Independent Advocacy Necessary?

Because people

  • Can experience difficulty in expressing their views and feelings
  • Are often not listened to and have their views and opinions devalued because of their illness/disability
  • Experience discrimination in many areas of their lives
  • Can be isolated with little or no support
  • Can be subject to complex legal processes, which profoundly affect their lives, such as detention under the Mental Health Act
  • Can often have difficulty in accessing information

Independent Advocacy and Legislation

  • Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003
  • Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007
  • Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000
  • The Eduction (additionald Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004
  • There is a general rule of law that people are entitled to a supporter/advocate – indeed most new government initiatives make provision for advocacy involvement

Independence

Independent advocacy organisations do not provide any other services.
Independent advocacy strives to minimise any conflicts of interest so that Advocacy Workers can work with complete loyalty to their Advocacy Partners (clients) and independent of other agencies, friends or family members.

An Advocacy Worker Will:

  • Listen to your views and opinions without judgement
  • Help you to speak up and have your views listened to
  • If needed speak on your behalf
  • Go to meetings with you
  • Help you become involved in decisions which affect you
  • Help you to understand form and letters
  • Investigate your rights, and help you to understand and uphold your rights
  • Always be honest with you

Independent Advocacy Will not:

  • Tell you what to do but will help you to find information you need
  • Will not talk about you without your permission
  • Give an opinion unless only give their opinion when it is asked for ???
  • Will not make decision for you

Confidentiality

Advocacy Western Isles is a Confidential Service.

Whatever you say to your advocate will be protected and maintained within the advocacy service. No outside contact will be made without your consent. There are exceptions to our confidentiality policy. If we think that you or another person are at serious risk or if you give us information about crime, we will have to act on this information. We would normally tell you before we do this and provide you with reason in writing.

What are human rights?

The foundation statement of human rights law is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Its famous preamble states that:

‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood’

Everyone, everywhere, has basic rights and freedoms which we need to live together with dignity based on our common humanity.  These human rights are secured in law.

The law applies to everyone equally and provides an important means of protection for the most vulnerable in our communities, including those who use advocacy services, by setting out the duties owed by those responsible for upholding human rights and the outcomes people are entitled to expect as a matter of right.

Human rights include civil and political rights, such as:

  • The right to freedom of expression
  • The right to freedom of religion or conscience
  • The right to property
  • The right to freedom of assembly
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to life
  • The right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • The right to vote

Human rights also cover economics and social rights, such as:

  • The right to an adequate standard of living
  • The right to adequate food, housing, water and sanitation
  • The rights you have at work
  • The right to health
  • The right to education

Source: Scottish Human Rights Commission