Independent advocacy is about speaking up for an individual or group. It is a way to help people have a strong voice and have as much control as possible over their own lives. Independent advocacy is an equal partnership. It helps build capacity and agency, on a one-to-one or collective basis.
Advocacy helps people to
- know and understand their rights
- navigate the system
- access the right support
- access choices
- make informed decisions
- understand the consequences of decisions
Several groups have rights to access independent advocacy enshrined in Scottish legislation
- adult support and protection
- adults with incapacity
- mental health (care and treatment) which covers; mental illness, learning disability, autism, dementia
There are approximately 40 independent advocacy organisations in Scotland. Services are delivered remotely, via telephone or face to face, always as person centred as possible.
Advocates can help with complaints to public services across Scotland, act on a complainants behalf or simply support with the initial submission of an SPSO complaint.
The difference between independent advocacy and advice is as follows:
- independent advocacy and advice are mutually supportive, but distinct avenues of assistance
- independent advocacy and advice are not interchangeable - they fulfil different functions and provide different levels of support
- it is a fundamental tenet of independent advocacy that people accessing it are "protected from undue pressure, advice or others' agendas" (SIAA Principles, 2019)
Please see details below of advocacy organisations across Scotland that can help you:
Please see details of support organisations and charities across Scotland that can help you:
- Samaritans - a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress and struggling to cope
- Breathing Space - a free and confidential phone service for people feeling low, depressed or anxious
- Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland - a registered charity seeking to help anyone experiencing bereavement to understand their grief and cope with their loss