In some situations you, a relative or someone you care for may feel that you are unable to speak up for yourself or get your opinions or views heard and understood. This may be because you are physically not able to do so, because you feel self-conscious or because you have difficulty expressing yourself well.
Advocacy is about helping you to speak up for yourself. An advocate is someone who can help you say what you want to.
An advocate should have no connection to the service you are dealing with and should be able to represent your interests as if they were their own.
There are different types of advocacy. You can:
- ask a volunteer to talk for you
- ask a legal expert, such as a solicitor, barrister or legal advice worker to explain for you. They can also speak for you at a tribunal or in court.
- Join a group. The group can work together to support and speak up for you and other people who have similar concerns. A group can express your point of view in places such as committees, forums and meetings.
- Ask a person who has had a similar experience to you to talk for you.
How do I find out more?
If you feel that you need an advocate to help you speak up, or to speak for you, contact Devon Advocacy; a group of experienced providers who work together to improve access to advocacy. Phone 0845 3300112, email email@example.com or visit Devon Advocacy.
You can also find details of organisations which provide advocates for specific needs or situations, such advocates for blind people, for asylum seekers or for carers on the Community Directory.