Scottish Learning Disability Week is Scotland’s learning disability awareness raising week, which takes place in May every year.
This year’s theme is ‘We all have human rights’. We want to help people with learning disabilities to recognise and realise their human rights.
Independent advocacy plays a key role ensuring that an individual’s human rights are recognised, respected, and secured by speaking up for, and standing alongside individuals or groups, and not being influenced by the views of others.
In 2014, SIAA published research into the impact of independent advocacy on the lives of people with learning disabilities.
The document explains how independent advocacy provides a unique and irreplaceable support for individuals which otherwise would not be addressed. Furthermore, it states that “before receiving advocacy support, many interviewees knew nothing or very little about their rights and entitlements but with the support of advocacy, this changed”.
Independent advocates ensure that their advocacy partners have all relevant information on their rights to consider options and make fully informed choices. Because of independent advocacy, people with learning disabilities were able to make informed decisions based on real choices which in turn encouraged a sense of independence and empowerment, a feeling of taking control of their lives and situations.