How can I make my voice heard?
Advocacy is a way of empowering people. Advocates help you to make sure your rights are respected, assert your opinions and have a say in matters that affect you. Advocacy services can help you to claim your entitlements and, where necessary, will represent and negotiate on your behalf.
Here, we describe some different advocacy services, and how they can help you.
Citizens Information Services
The Citizens Information Services can help you to negotiate complex information, review official decisions and support you through formal appeals processes. The service moves beyond providing information and advice to helping you with more difficult issues. It is free and confidential.
Some things they can assist you with:
• Writing letters with you and on your behalf
• Negotiating with third parties on your behalf
• Supporting or representing you in meetings with third parties
• Supporting or representing you in an appeal or tribunal
National Advocacy Service
The Citizens Information Board also provides the National Advocacy Service for people with a disability. This service provides access to independent, accurate information. It aims to improve equality of opportunity and provide a pathway to other services for people with a disability. You can phone the National Advocacy Service on 0761 07 3000.
Irish Advocacy Network
The Irish Advocacy Network (IAN) provides advice for people who are in-patients in psychiatric hospitals. They work through peer advocates, who are people who have their own experience of mental health difficulties. IAN’s aim is to provide information, choice and support to people experiencing mental health difficulties.
For more information on IAN’s services, you can call them on 01-8728684 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cairde’s Health Information and Advocacy Centre
Cairde’s Dublin and Balbriggan Centres have a Health Information and Advocacy Centre (HIAC) which provide advocacy to individuals and groups from ethnic minority communities to enable them to access and use health services. This service is free and confidential. It is provided by multilingual advocates. Location and contact details on Cairde’s website.
The DeafHear Family Support Service provides advocacy support as required in working with individuals and families.
Inclusion Ireland’s Advocacy
Inclusion Ireland offers an advocacy service to families of people with intellectual disabilities. The organisation also supports and trains parent advocates, encourages people with an intellectual disability to become peer advocates, facilitates peer advocacy groups, self-advocacy groups, and employs representative advocates.