This week is Advocacy Awareness Week 2022 (#AAW22) and to demonstrate how advocacy supports your rights, each day will shine a light on an element of the Human Rights Act. The week-long campaign, which is now in its fifth year, is coordinated by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and this year is supported by The British Institute of Human Rights and advocacy providers across the UK. The Advocacy Project is proud to be supporting the week.
Human rights are basic rights everyone can expect, and public authorities have a legal duty to respect and protect them. Protecting Human Rights should run through the care and support services you receive and make sure you’re involved in decisions about your care.
But what happens if you find it harder to express your views and communicate your wishes? In certain circumstances you can access the support of an independent advocate. Advocates have a key role in supporting people to understand their human rights, ensuring these are respected and upheld by public bodies and raising concerns and challenges when they are under threat or at risk. Advocates are there to listen to what’s important to you, support you to understand your rights and help you to communicate your views and wishes to health and care providers and others.
One important human right is the ‘Right to Liberty’. Recent work by one of our advocates highlights the importance of advocacy support for making sure the least restrictive option is applied for a person’s care. James had been referred to Stuart*, an 82-year-old detained at an older adults’ mental health ward under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983. The hospital ward had applied for a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisation, which was granted. This meant Stuart was unable to return to his extra-care housing flat as he wished. James, however, felt that Stuart did have capacity in relation to his hospital arrangements. Through their work together, Stuart was able to advocate for a re-assessment of his capacity and finally able to have his wishes to leave the ward fulfilled.
*Name changed to protect individual’s identity.
Join the conversation on social media using the following hashtags: #AAW22 #HearMyVoice #HumanRightsAdvocacy #AdvocacyinAction
How to find support
The Advocacy Project helps people speak up and make decisions about their health, wellbeing and social care. We’re here to make sure people across all ages and care groups can understand their rights, make effective choices about their lives and voice their concerns.
Some of the ways we do this include:
- advocacy services that make sure people can express their wishes when decisions are being made about their care or wellbeing
- user involvement projects that help organisations improve what they offer by listening to people who use their services
- local Healthwatch organisations (Brent, RBKC and Westminster), which act as health and social care champions for the areas they serve and give people a direct channel to share their feedback
- innovative Personal Health Budget projects that allow people to access items and services to improve their wellbeing.
Our services are independent, confidential, and free to those receiving them. Together, our teams are standing up for essential rights and supporting people to have a say on the issues that matter to them.