Advocacy comes from the Latin ‘ad voce’ – which means ‘towards a voice’. Put simply, advocacy is about speaking up. We come across advocacy every day. Parents stand up for theor children, children stick up for their friends. Someone who has to go to a difficult meeting or into a new situation may ask a friend to go along with him or her. Someone may need information before making a decision. These are all advocacy situations. Every person has the right to be in control of his or her own life and in decisions which affect them. This is a basic human right.
Advocacy enables people to make decisions that would otherwise be made for them by others.
Human Rights are about how people are treated. They are about living a life free from fear, harassment, or discrimination – including the right to make choices about our lives and to develop our potential as human beings.
Sometimes people with disabilities find themselves in a position where their human rights are restricted and their ability to exercise choice or represent their own interests is limited.
In these situations, advocacy can help. Advocacy helps people with disabilities to speak up and have their views and opinions acted on. Advocacy protects people’s human rights.
Over the past number of years, Cheshire Ireland has used advocacy as a way of supporting people that use its services to speak up. This involved introducing a number of advocacy supports such as group advocacy, self advocacy, citizen advocacy and professional advocacy in some services.
The focus of Cheshire Ireland’s advocacy and rights work in 2011/12:
- Ongoing development of advocacy supports in Cheshire services
- Supporting staff training and development in advocacy
- Continuing to develop rights-based policies and procedures for Cheshire Ireland
- Facilitating the voice of people that use Cheshire services through new advocacy groups
- Supporting local Cheshire services to develop effective links with the new National Advocacy Service (funded by the Department of Social Protection) which is being rolled out in 2011
- Inclusion Ireland http://www.inclusionireland.ie/
- Citizens Information http://www.citizensinformation.ie
- National Advocacy Service (no website or info yet)
- Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.ie
- The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) http://www.thecouncil.org/
The advocacy and rights work is located under the Service Quality Team in Cheshire Ireland.
For further information
Service Quality Manager