A Right To Advocacy! What’s That?
Have you ever heard the word advocacy? You don’t hear it very often in day to day life, but it’s important to every child and young person. ‘Advocacy’ is something that is there to help you when you need it.
I ddarllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg, clicia yma
So to understand what advocacy is properly, you need to know about your rights. Did you even know that you had rights as a child or young person in Wales? Well, you do! Actually, you have a lot of them.
You have rights
Wales has signed up to something called the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (also known as the UNCRC). Almost every country in the World has signed up to the UNCRC. There are 54 articles setting out your rights and how your government should make sure they’re met. Signing up to the UNCRC means that your government has agreed that their country is legally obliged to make sure that every child has these rights whatever their background or circumstances.
According to the UNCRC you have the right to have information. You also have a say in what you think should happen, and to be listened to. To find out about all your rights check out the UNCRC on the Children’s Commissioner for Wales website.
What exactly is advocacy though?
So, to put it simply, advocacy ensures that you have a voice and people can hear what you’re saying. It’s a way of making sure that you know your rights, and are involved in any decisions made about you. The people that make sure you get the advocacy that you need are called advocates.
Check out the ‘Is anyone listening’ video below. The video was written and recorded by young people who have experience of advocacy services. It explains what advocacy is and who you can contact in more detail.
As you can see in the video, there are three different services in Wales that offer advocacy services to children and young people. If you have a social worker then you can contact TGP Cymru or NYAS Cymru.
If you’re not sure who to contact, or you don’t have a social worker, then you can still have an advocate through the Meic helpline. Meic can help through text, online chat or on the phone. We can help you talk to the people you need to talk to. If you want, we can talk to people on your behalf, using your own words, to make sure that you get your point across. Meic is a helpline service for all children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales. Advocacy is just one of the services we offer, we can also give advice and help with anything that’s baffling or worrying you.
To find out more about what advocacy is, and who to contact in your area check out the whatisadvocacy.cymru website.