SIAA’s members Central Advocacy Partners is a members led learning disability organisation. Through their extensive work, they have identified an important gap: the need for a Survivors Project.
With over twenty years of experience providing positive forward thinking support to people with learning disabilities across the Forth Valley, the organisation was formed in April 2011 by the merging of Advocacy into Action and Quality Action Group.
Building upon the success of their survivors’ pilot project which ran for three consecutive years, their newly funded Survivors Project was born. This program is designed for women aged sixteen years and over who have or are experiencing Gender Based Violence.
The project supports Advocacy Partners to:
- Identify, plan for and achieve their personal outcomes
- Understand their care and support needs
- Understand the nature of Gender Based Violence
- Understand risk and safety options
- Access relevant, effective and integrated services
- Have their views heard by professionals working with them
- Help them access peer support and increase their social networks
The referral criteria includes women aged sixteen years and over, living in the Forth Valley area who identify as or have been diagnosed with a learning disability, learning difficulty and or autism, who have or are experiencing Gender Based Violence.
This project significantly changes advocacy partners’ lives as the organisation takes time to develop trusting relationship, as a basis for their advocacy approach, and engages in a consistent, non-judgemental way with their advocacy partners and with professionals who can offer them support. Central Advocacy Partners focuses on keeping partners informed by communicating in a way they understand, making sure they know what is happening, particularly about any formal processes in which they may be involved to increase their participation and ensure that their voices are heard. Making sure advocacy partners are safe and stay safe in the future is key. They achieve this by planning and increasing the advocacy partners’ knowledge and understanding of Gender Based Violence.
Moreover, Central Advocacy Partners facilitate weekly group sessions for Survivors, focusing on factors like reducing isolation and sharing knowledge between members. They use members’ skills to prepare for awareness raising events and support a sub-group to inform services about how to be more accessible for people with learning disabilities.
Group Members have increased:
- Opportunities for positive social networks
- Access to information about social and financial support
- Knowledge and awareness of Gender Based Violence
- Understanding of healthy relationships
- Opportunities to develop their skills and experiences with peers and have this experience validated.
- Opportunities to develop their skills and experiences to enable them to share their expertise in appropriate professional training programmes.
If you’d like to learn more about Central Advocacy Partner’s fantastic work, please visit their website.