Challenge Poverty Week is organised by The Poverty Alliance since 2013. It seeks to highlight the injustice of poverty in Scotland, and to show that collective action based on justice and compassion can create solutions.

Each year, hundreds of organisations in Scotland do just that, including elected representative, charities and NGOs, local authorities, faith groups, businesses, school and colleges, trade unions, professional bodies and more.

SIAA believes that challenging poverty is crucial to guaranteeing the person’s right to live in dignity and to participate fully in society. Independent advocacy can contribute to challenging poverty by empowering individuals and making sure that Scotland’s most vulnerable and marginalised have their voices heard.

Independent advocacy is about speaking up for, and standing alongside individuals or groups, and not being influenced by the views of others. It addresses barriers and imbalances of power, and ensures that an individual’s human rights are recognised, respected, and secured. Currently, not everyone who needs independent advocacy can access it. Widening access to independent advocacy would help people get support, in the right way and at the right time, and independent advocacy would have a preventative role and stop situations from escalating, such as poverty.

Poverty hugely damages people’s mental and physical health, and can also affect their confidence to speak up. Independent advocacy enables people to stay engaged with services that are struggling to meet their needs, often these services are more likely to be working with people living in poverty.

With the cost of living crisis threatening people’s basic rights, independent advocacy can be key to support individuals to navigate complex systems that could help them in these difficult times. Independent advocacy plays an important part in helping people to know and understand their rights, participate in legal processes and hold decision makers to account. This contributes to tackling poverty by ensuring that people understand and access the rights and benefits they are entitled to.

If you need an independent advocate, please visit our ‘Find an advocate’ section to locate your nearest independent advocacy organisation.

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