Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and help you stand up for your rights. If you think you would benefit from this type of support you could self-refer for an advocate.

The role of an advocate depends on your situation and the support you want. But they are there to support your choices.

An advocate can:

  • Listen to your views and concerns
  • Help you explore your options and rights (without pressuring you)
  • Provide information to help you make informed decisions
  • Help you contact relevant people, or contact them on your behalf
  • Accompany you and support you in meetings or appointments.

An advocate will not:

  • Give you their personal opinion
  • Solve problems and make decisions for you
  • Make judgements about you.

The support of an advocate is often particularly useful in meetings when you might not feel confident in expressing yourself. They can:

  • Support you to ask all the questions you want to ask
  • Make sure all the points you want covered are included in the meeting
  • Explain your options to you without giving their opinion
  • Help keep you safe during the meeting – for example, if you find the meeting upsetting, your advocate can ask for a break until you feel able to continue.

The South West Advocacy Network (SWAN) provide a full range of statutory and generic advocacy services to adults living in Somerset. For more information please see their website.

Somerset | South West Advocacy Network (