Within VoiceAbility, we have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Wherever possible, we try to harness that knowledge and create tools that others can use.
The Challenge Guidance will help advocates to develop a ‘tool-kit’ of different approaches in order to get the best possible outcome for people depending on their views and situation. The Guide will be an important reference for all practitioners across the health and social care sectors as well as for friends and family members who often take on the crucial role of supporting people to raise their own concerns, or challenge decisions on their behalf, where necessary.
The guide provides essential reference materials, case examples and references to relevant Articles within Acts and Statutory Guidance; and aims to increase the knowledge and confidence of those challenging decisions in often, very complex situations.
The Guidance provides detailed information on the spectrum of methods to resolve issues including:
- Taking an informal approach to challenge; when this is most appropriate and the skills required to be effective, including negotiating and influencing;
- Formal routes to challenge; under the Mental Capacity Act 2005; Mental Health Act 1983; and Care Act 2014 as well as formal complaints processes and judicial review.
VoiceAbility worked closely with Empowerment Matters, Irwin Mitchell LLP, Dr Lucy Series and Steven Richards from Edge Consultancy and Training to produce the Challenge Guidance, with substantial advice and input from advocates at VoiceAbility.
We wrote ‘STOMP Top Tips for Advocates’, in partnership with NHS England. STOMP is the national cross sector campaign for stopping the over-medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both, who are more likely to be given psychotropic medicines than other people. The Top Tips are intended to assist advocates and health and social care professionals, but they may also be helpful to people who are being prescribed psychotropic medication and their families.
How to stay safe from Domestic Abuse
Every minute a domestic violence-related call is made to the police. What about those people who don't or can't make that call? We have been working with the Cambridgeshire Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership to create an Easy Read leaflet for adults with learning disabilities and their friends and families about how to stay safe from domestic abuse.
The leaflet was written following research by the Speak Out Council and was prepared in collaboration with Speak Out Council's members, supported by VoiceAbility's Consultancy and Training team.
Don't be silent on sexual abuse
The aim of the booklet is to raise awareness of what sexual abuse is, that it is never the victim's fault and that there are people that can support them to keep safe.
This is a very sensitive situation, in which all agencies involved in the safeguarding of people with learning disabilities need to make sure people are supported in the best possible way. It is crucial that all professionals are fully trained to understand the needs of people with learning disabilities in these situations. This self-help booklet will provide very vulnerable individuals and their families with guidance on ways to cope with how they are feeling and how to get professional help.
VoiceAbility has worked with Cambridgeshire’s Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Partnership to create this booklet. This booklet was commissioned following concerns hightlighted by Rape Crisis and raised by members of VoiceAbility's Speak Out Council, a representative group of people with learning disabilities and autism in Cambridgeshire.
What happens if Children's Services feel your child is at risk of harm?
The booklet explains in easy to understand words and pictures:
- Who normally makes decisions about child protection
- What happens when Children’s Services get involved
- The Child Protection Process
- What happens at different meetings
- Emergency Protection Orders
- What happens in court
- Different legal orders
- Adoption and Fostering processes
This booklet was written for, and by, parents who have learning disabilities.
Safeguarding Information Sheets
If the council think someone has hurt you, they may want to find out what happened. They will also want to know how they can make sure you are safe.
This is sometimes called ‘Safeguarding’.
The council will have a responsibility to find out what has happened. This is called an “enquiry”. They may ask someone else, like a hospital, to do this for them. As part of this, they may want to talk to you if you have been hurt by accident or on purpose.
Below, you can find information sheets on what you can expect from a safeguarding enquiry, for yourself, or a friend or relative.
Wheel of Life - for Suffolk’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities
It is clear that life can be difficult for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Life expectancy has decreased over the years and health support can be difficult to access.
But there are organisations who work hard to offer services that help support you if you are a member of Suffolk's Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities - including West Meadows, Beck Row and the Roma community in Ipswich.
Below is a community film, made by Jake Bowers, Gypsy filmmaker and journalist, with fascinating insight into the history and current state of health from cradle to grave of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people. You can listen to friends and neighbours sharing their experiences in Romani and the doctors and nurses who treated them.
Services highlighted in the film include:
- GP surgeries
- Diabetes support
- Cancer support
- Advocacy services
Produced by the Voiceability Community Development Team in partnership with Suffolk Wellbeing Service
Funded by the Big Lottery programme Awards for All
"Thank you so much for thinking of my people in this way and for distributing the DVD free of charge, this means every home can have a personal copy"
"It's an amazing way of educating folks about the services they will need at some time throughout their lives, it's a film by made for the gypsies by the gypsies"
"Hearing our elder men on the DVD talk about emotional wellbeing and where to go for help will do a great deal for our young men coping with similar problems, no more will they be afraid to speak out and get the support they need"