What is advocacy?
An advocate is someone who provides advocacy support when you need it. An advocate might help you access information you need or go with you to meetings or interviews, in a supportive role. You may want your advocate to write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you don’t feel able to speak for yourself. Our advocates will spend time with you to get to know your views and wishes.
Advocacy seeks to ensure that those who are most vulnerable in society, are able to:
- Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them.
- Defend and safeguard their rights.
- Have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.
Advocacy is a process of supporting & enabling people to:
- Express their views and concerns.
- Access information and services.
- Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities.
- Explore choices and options
Advocacy can be helpful in all kinds of situations where you:
- Find it difficult to make your views known.
- Need other people listen to you and take your views into account.
What is mental capacity?
If you have ‘mental capacity’ you are able to make a particular decision for yourself. Mental capacity is not about someone’s capacity to make a range of decisions. The legal definition says that someone who lacks capacity cannot, due to an illness or disability such as a mental health problem, dementia or a learning disability, do the following:
- understand information given to them to make a particular decision
- retain that information long enough to be able to make the decision
- use or weigh up the information to make the decision
- communicate their decision
The Mental Capacity Act can apply to all sorts of decision such as:
- major decisions such as decisions about personal finance, social care or medical treatment
- everyday decisions such as decisions about what to wear or eat
Please find details of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Download PDF
The law works on the principle that everyone is assumed to have capacity to make decisions for themselves if they are given enough information, support and time. It protects your right to make your own decisions and to be involved in any decisions that affect you. Even if your decision appears unwise or eccentric, the Act makes clear that you should not be treated as lacking capacity for that reason.