Small boy leaning against a wallAn advocate aims to empower a child or young person, and support them to have their say.

An advocate is someone who offers one-to-one support for a young person. They may give advice, raise the child’s awareness about their rights, or speak up for the child and represent their views, wishes and feelings. They may simply provide a listening ear.

What the role means

Jane Dalrymple, Senior Lecturer at Bristol University describes advocates very well. She said:

'The role of the advocate has never been to promote the best interests of a child or young person. That is the role of all other professionals and adults in their lives.

'Advocacy is about empowerment. It is about supporting their views or presenting their views for them. It is NOT about pressurising, persuading or taking a course of action WITHOUT being mandated to do so by the child or young person concerned.

'In cases where a child/young person is unable to give instructions for whatever reason, then the best that an advocate can do is to put forward a rights-based perspective – which may or may not be in their perceived best interests.'

Are you a professional wishing to refer a young person for advocacy?

Learn more about referring a young person for advocacy and the benefits this can have in a young person's life.