A Swan Advocate helps a serial petty criminal turn his life around.


Ethan had previously struggled to communicate his needs due to an undiagnosed learning disability which had led him to commit multiple crimes, experience housing difficulties and develop a drinking problem. His own efforts to try and receive support led to him being bounced between different services. Unable to get any results, Ethan had become full of frustration. After an incident in which he was threatened, punched and had money stolen, he fled home and because it was too frightening, refused to return.

Seeing that Ethan had reached breaking point, a friend referred him to advocacy services. Later, Ethan worked with an advocate and two trusted friends to detail his concerns and issues with the local police, drug and alcohol services and Adult Social Services. Through this support, Ethan was able to articulate his concerns, and was diagnosed with a learning disability and ‘lacking of capacity’ to make informed decisions on his welfare and finances, so was subsequently given access to services to improve his wellbeing.

As a result of the advocacy and his subsequent diagnosis, Ethan was able to effectively describe his needs to various service providers, and was housed successfully in supported living housing, receiving the provision he so desperately needed. Having gained control over his life, Ethan was able to feel a sense of belonging, which gave him the confidence to move on from supported housing to independent living. Regular meetings with his GP, his friend, and the Swan advocate increased his trust in others. His hope and confidence increased from being heard and understood, which led to his decision to stop drinking alcohol. Without receiving the advocacy support, Ethan may still have continued with drinking, and moving back and forth between different services without treatment, unable to communicate his needs and be heard, and his learning disability may have remained undiagnosed. Ethan’s position was now being heard and understood. Meanwhile Ethan began volunteer work  creating better routines and healthier lifestyle choices.


  •  Names and pictures have been changed