An advocate is someone who can help you find out about your rights and how things work. They are there to help get your voice heard.
An all too common experience within the health and care systems is not being heard. Overworked practitioners and understaffed services, as well as a lack of training, mean that far too often a person’s experience, needs, and choices are not being listened to. This can result in lack of appropriate support, further distress, and a lack of trust in the system as a whole. An advocate’s role is to be a support against this.
What does an advocate do?
At the core of advocacy is choice
They will listen to your point of view on what is happening and help you understand what your options and rights are. They will then support you to have your choices heard by the relevant people, including speaking to professionals or attending meetings if needed.
What can an advocate not do?
They are not a general expert
They won’t be able to give advice or an opinion outside of your options and rights. This means they don’t give personal, legal, or medical advice. It also means they will not push you towards one option or another, and they won’t judge the choices you make or how you feel.
Everyone deserves a voice
A family member, friend, or carer can advocate for you if you just need some extra support. Lots of organisations provide self-advocacy toolkits that can also be helpful.
A community or specialist advocacy service can offer free advocacy in many cases.
Free statutory advocacy is a legal right for certain situations.