What is a Deaf Advocate?

This is a Deaf person who acts on behalf of the advocacy partner i.e. the Deaf client, (with their permission) Is an independent person who is confidential, acts within the law in a non discriminatory and non judgemental way and promotes equal opportunities.

What is the difference between a Deaf Interpreter and Deaf Advocate?

It is not the Advocates role to act as a Language Relay, but sometimes the Advocacy Partner can become very distressed, often due to misunderstandings, at which point the Deaf Advocate may intervene to assist with communication, but only when asked by the partner and usually briefly until the partner feels better and able to cope. Occasionally, the meeting may need to be postponed to allow for a preferred Interpreter, more in tune with the partner’s communication needs, to be allocated.

What is a Deaf Intermediary?

An Intermediary is a person who has been to trained and registered to work in the Criminal Justice system to support vulnerable witnesses in giving evidence in court. Deaf Intermediaries, therefore, are Deaf people who have been trained to support Deaf witnesses to give evidence.

What can an Advocate do?

Protect the rights and interests of someone who may be vulnerable Empower people who may have difficulties in expressing what they want, put their views across or to get others to listen to them Speak on behalf of the partner, with their permission Attempt to gather as much information as possible in order to explore various options in a balanced, impartial way, to enable the partner to make informed decisions Support the partner to make their decisions and choices. Treat their partner with respect and dignity at all times and ensure that they are treated fairly by others. Will assist the partner to access services and stand up for their rights by explaining what their rights are, generally, including the right to make a complaint if discriminated against on the grounds of mental or physical health, gender, race, age or any other social stigma or prejudice.

What can’t the Advocate do?

Will not make any decisions on behalf of the partner. The partner has to make the decisions and choices and go at the pace required. Will not impose their views on the partners nor give advice. Advocates are not Counsellors, Therapists, Benefit Advisors, Social Workers, BSL/English Interpreters, Intermediaries or Appropriate Adults

“As a Deaf Advocate I feel my role goes further than a general Advocate with reference to communication. When I am familiar with the Advocacy Partner’s signing method used (e.g. own personalised signs, non standard use of BSL or minimal sign language skills), I will intervene if necessary, with the Advocacy Partner’s permission, to clarify signing/information for both BSL/English Interpreters and Partner to promote effective communication with other parties concerned – for example in Child Protection conferences, meetings where legal advice is being given by the Partner’s Solicitor and other meetings involving a range of professionals. I feel I often go the extra mile to get information on specialist Deaf services and make that available not only for the Advocacy Partner but for the professionals too, especially those from statutory services including Solicitors, Barristers and Judges!  I feel very strongly that the Partner has the right to be present in meetings when their circumstances are being discussed”.

Aditus is able to source Deaf Advocates, if you would like to make a booking please do complete our online booking form.