Questions and answers

You might have lots of questions about advocacy and children’s hearings. This section of our website should help you. If there is a question missing, please get in touch.

What is a children and young person’s advocacy worker

Advocacy workers have a crucial role in supporting children and young people in the hearings system. Advocacy workers are professionals who advocate for you by helping you to give your views and make sure the people at your children’s hearing know your views and what you want to happen. The advocacy worker will be there for you only.

What does an advocacy worker do?

An advocacy worker can:

  • listen to your views and concerns
  • help you to explore your options and rights (without advising a particular course)
  • give information to help you make informed decisions
  • help you to contact relevant people, or contact them on your behalf (for example a solicitor)
  • accompany and support you in meetings or appointments
  • help you say how you feel or what you think in a meeting (if you would like them to)

An advocacy worker will not:

  • give their personal opinion
  • solve problems and make decisions for you
  • make judgements about you
Are there different kinds of advocacy?

Yes. There are lots of different kinds of advocacy, depending on the situation and the kind of support required.

For example:

  • a professional advocacy service can be accessed through some organisations and charities
  • friends, family, or carers can act as advocates
  • a person can also be an advocate on their own behalf (called self-advocacy)

To help understand this more, you can see the Scottish Government’s Children’s advocacy guidance on how to support children and young people to make informed decisions on matters which influence their lives.

If you want to know about other advocacy services across Scotland to help with any other purpose, visit Scottish Independent Advocacy Association website.

How will advocacy help me?

Advocacy workers can come to the hearing with you and help you decide how you want to be heard – for example, maybe talking to the panel by yourself, by making a short voice recording or video, or you don’t need to speak at all – your advocacy worker can pass on your views for you. For some children and young people, advocacy support at a hearing will increase your ability to participate.

Where can I get information or advice about children’s hearings?

If you have been asked to go to a children’s hearing, you will get a letter from the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration with all the information about when and where it is. The children’s reporter website also gives information about how else you can get advice.

If you have any questions before you attend your hearing, there are lots of different people you could talk to, for example, the person who sent you the letter about the hearing (called the children’s reporter), your social worker, or your teacher.

You can get information or advice; from your social worker, advocacy worker, or a lawyer. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member, or someone you know would help you at your hearing.  

Remember; it’s really important that you get good advice and information, ideally from someone who understands the children’s hearings system, so it’s always best to think about getting help from a person who is in a position to help you. 

How can I contact an advocacy organisation for children’s hearings?

How to contact an advocacy organisation to arrange a meeting with an advocacy worker to help you at your children’s hearing.

  • meetings should be arranged where and when you would like them to happen
  • you can choose to start and end your advocacy support if and when you want
  • you can ask someone to help you make contact with the organisation

If you already have an advocacy worker please tell the person talking to you about this to see if the same person can help you at your children’s hearing.

Click here to see the full list of advocacy providers across Scotland.

i have an advocacy worker, can they still help me at my hearing?

If you already have an advocacy worker please tell the person talking to you about this. Don’t worry if the organisation that your advocacy worker isn’t named for the place where you live/stay or local area. Speak to your advocacy worker to see if they can help you at your children’s hearing.

Will my advocacy worker talk to other people about me?

Your advocacy worker is independent of all other services, such as social workers, teachers or local authority staff and will not pass on anything you tell them without your permission, unless you or someone else is at risk of harm.

Will my parents need to give permission for me to be able to have an advocacy worker?

No, parents don’t need to give permission. If you are over 12 years old you can give your own consent.  If you are under 12 years old, parental permission may be asked for, or a social worker is legally allowed to consent on your behalf if this is what you would want.  You can choose when you would like to start and stop advocacy.

 The advocacy workers will speak with social workers to ensure you hear about the help they can give you, and that the correct consent is in place before the advocacy worker contacts you.


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