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SENDIASS Southend
Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice & Support Service

Advocacy

Definition of the SENDIASS Advocacy Offer from the Council for Disabled Children

Advocacy means getting support from another person to help an individual to express their views and wishes and help them understand and exercise their rights. IASS do not fulfil the role of statutory advocates, nor do they provide legal advocacy as provided by a lawyer.

More information about advocacy can be found at Mind, the mental health charity

An informal advocate can

  • listen to the individuals views and concerns
  • help them to explore their options and rights
  • provide information to help them make informed decisions
  • help them contact relevant people
  • accompany them and support them in meetings or appointments

An informal advocate will not

  • give their personal opinion
  • solve problems and make decisions for the individual
  • make judgements about them

The support of an advocate is often particularly useful in meetings when an individual might not feel confident in expressing themselves.

They can

  • support them to ask all the questions they want to ask
  • make sure all the points they want covered are included in the meeting
  • explain their options without giving their opinion
  • help keep them safe during the meeting – for example, if the individual finds the meeting upsetting, the informal advocate can ask for a break until the individual feels able to continue