What does it do?
Advocacy seeks to influence social change by enabling those who experience dis-empowerment to have a direct say in the issues that affect their lives. Advocacy involves a partnership between a concerned member of the community (advocate) and a person who may be vulnerable, isolated or disadvantaged in some way. In this relationship the advocate provides support, information and representation with the aim of empowering their client and enabling them to express their needs and choices. If necessary the advocate can represent their client’s wishes to another person or agency on their behalf. In order to advocate effectively it is essential to reflect the choices of their client in representation whether or not the advocate agrees with that choice.
Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:
- Express their views and concerns
- Access information and services
- Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities
- Explore options and choices
Advocacy revolves around the belief in equal opportunities for everyone. Effective advocacy can enable people to have
their rights and interests given the same consideration as those of the rest of society. In essence an advocate represents a sort of unconditional ally for a vulnerable individual, they may in fact be the only person in that individual’s life who is on their side.
Advocacy is defined as being:
“a one-to-one partnership between a trained, independent advocate and an older person who needs support in order to secure or exercise their rights, choices and interests” OPAAL (Older People’s Advocacy Alliance UK)
“Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the 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.” Advocacy Charter and Action for Advocacy.