What is Advocacy?

What is Independent Advocacy?

Independent Advocacy is a way to support people to have a stronger voice and have as much control as possible over their own lives.

While many people can access this support informally, for example through friends and family, many vulnerable people in Fife do not have the social networks other people take for granted.  In these cases, people can be supported by an independent advocate.

Why is Advocacy Important?

Independent Advocacy helps safeguard and empower the most isolated and excluded people in Fife.  Advocacy allows people to speak up when they have problems, to ensure their rights are protected, and to make sure that they are listened to.

Key to the success of an advocate is the concept of “independence”.  Advocates are not employed by the NHS or Council, and are not involved in providing any other services to the person receiving advocacy.  Their loyalty lies with the person they are supporting (often referred to as the “advocacy partner”).  As such, they do not have to balance the multiple, sometimes conflicting, responsibilities that social workers, nurses and other professionals have to. 

Advocacy is about:

  • Supporting someone to speak up about issues important to them
  • Supporting a person to have their views heard and increase their self-confidence, self-worth and self-belief
  • Supporting someone to make their own choices and decisions
  • Representing the views of someone when they are unable to so for themselves
  • Listening to someone and trying to understand their point of view
  • Supporting someone to know what choices they have and what the consequences of these choices might be

Advocacy is not about:

  • Mediation
  • Care Support
  • Counselling
  • Befriending
  • Telling somebody what to do