What is advocacy
- A definition of advocacy
- Informal Advocacy
- Independent Advocacy
- Greater Equality - a More just Society - How?
- Advocacy = Empowerment
- The person at the centre
There are many different definitions of advocacy, but most definitions highlight common key parts / principles. At its most simple, advocacy can be defined as:
- Supporting someone to speak up or speaking on their behalf
- Listening and making sure others listen too
- Valuing a person's opinions
- Safeguarding their rights and wishes
Most people can act as advocates and / or use advocacy daily; for example, parents listen to the needs and wishes of their children, managers respond to the views of their staff, friends stand by each other and offer support. This is often referred to as 'informal' advocacy and is a part of everyday life.
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.
Advocacy aims to achieve a more equal and just society. There are many people in our society who are ignored, marginalised or socially excluded. Advocacy is a means to redressing the balance of power by providing a mixture of:
- links to other services
- sharing information and knowledge to support decision making
- being a 'voice' to ensure that people's rights are respected.
Advocacy offers an effective means to:
- express choice
- develop the confidence to express satisfaction or dissatisfaction
- receive information
- minimise risk
- offer control to avoid exclusion
- provide strength to attain empowerment
Advocacy is guided by the principle that every person should be valued, and ensures that people are not ignored and excluded because of any prejudices they might face. Advocacy promotes a person-centred approach in everything it aims to achieve and is based on the belief that everyone has the right to:
- be respected and listened to
- be involved in decisions that affect their lives
- have aspirations for their future