AVoice Client Frequently Asked Questions

Do you access the AVoice Service and have questions about transferring to Swan Advocacy?

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions below, email us on victimadvocacy@swanadvocacy.org.uk or call 0333 447928 and ask for Lindsey Burke.

About the New Service

Can I access the service even if I have not reported the crime of antisocial behaviour to the police?

Yes. If you wish to report to the police we can support you to do so, but that is your choice.

Will there be a gap in the support I will receive due to the project transfer?         

The team will be undertaking induction and training on 1st and 2nd April, but following that they will be attending support visits as usual.

What will happen to my case which is currently awaiting for a response from an external body, this may take up to a year?

If appropriate your case will be placed on hold until the response is received when advocacy will resume, if needed.  However, if you need support during your wait it will be provided as normal.

Will I have a gender preference when it comes to having an advocate?

Yes.  Following transfer our Manager will ask you about your requirements and preferences in relation to your advocate.

Do I have to work with a volunteer even if I don’t want to?

Advocacy will be provided by a paid member of the team following transfer. Your Advocate will talk to you and seek to understand the reasons why you don’t want to work with a volunteer.

Types of Support

Will you still help me with my complaints against the police even though the police give you money?

Yes.  Although we receive funding from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, we are an independent advocacy provider and part of this service is to support you with complaints.

Will my advocate still come with me to professional meetings?

Yes, if this support need is identified within your Advocacy Support Plan.

Can my advocate still be able to speak to other professionals on my behalf?

Yes, if appropriate and with your informed consent.  Advocates will also encourage and coach you to speak to professionals independently.  They may work with you to complete a telephone call or meeting planner document in advance to help you prepare manage any important conversations.

Will my advocate still be able to help me with my housing problems?

Yes, if this support need is identified within your Advocacy Support Plan.

Will my advocate still be able to visit me at my house?

Yes, if your support appointments have been at home this will continue.

Will my advocate be able to come with me to court?

Yes, if they are the most appropriate person to support you.

Will the support you offer be time limited?

Advocacy will be provided for as long as you require it.  We will also support you to engage with longer term support services/networks, if appropriate.

Can my advocate still help me with my PIP claim when it is a direct result of the crime I have been affected my? And, help me with any other benefits issues?

Yes, if this support need is identified within your Advocacy Support Plan.  Your Advocate may also support you to engage directly with your Citizens Advice service.

Will my advocate still be able to help me with my CICA claim?

Yes, if this support need is identified within your Advocacy Support Plan.

Methods of Support

I am blind, how will you work with me?

Your Advocate will work with you to develop a Advocacy Support Plan – you will agree what support is required and how this support will be delivered.  This plan is fully directed by you and includes your specific communication needs requirements.  We can produce your agreed Advocacy Support Plan in Braille or audio, if appropriate.

I am Deaf, how will you support me?

After transfer we will contact you in writing and agree and arrange the best way to communicate with you.  This may include the use of a BSL trained Advocate, or interpreter. Your Advocate will work with you to develop a Advocacy Support Plan – you will agree what support is required and how this support will be delivered.  This plan is fully directed by you and includes your specific communication needs requirements.

I cannot cope with talking to people on the phone, what other communication methods will you offer me?

Support delivery methods include face-to-face, email, text and Skype.

I can’t read or write, how will you communicate with me?

We will talk with you in person or on the telephone/via Skype.  We can provide Easy Read formatted documents and translate written information to audio, if appropriate.

I don’t like to leave my house as I have agoraphobia, how can I access your service?

Our Advocates can visit you at home and offer remote support via telephone, text and Skype.

Can I contact my advocate directly or do I have to go through the Access Team?

Once assigned to an Advocate you will be able to contact them directly.

How can I contact my advocate, if it is by mobile, can I text them?

Yes you can text them.  Once you have been assigned to an Advocate they will be in touch and you will agree preferred communication methods together.  Along with face to face support this could include telephone, text, email and Skype.

About my Advocate

Who will be my advocate? Will it still be the one I am working with at AVoice?

If both you and your Advocate transfer to the new service support will be uninterrupted and you will continue to work together. If your Advocate does not transfer our Manager will talk to you about your preferences and assign you a new Advocate.  Your case notes will transfer, so your new Advocate will be aware of your support needs and work done so far.

The Police are always against me, will me advocate be on my side?

Advocates support you to have your voice heard, choices respected and rights upheld.  Our Advocates will be at your side, supporting you to remove barriers and take control of your life.

If I tell my advocate something I don’t want the police to know, will they still tell them?

What you discuss with your advocate is confidential. There are 2 issues that your advocate cannot keep confidential – if they are concerned for your safety, or that of someone else. Your Advocate will always attempt to discuss these issues with you and support you to raise them yourself, but ultimately they will need to inform other agencies with or without your consent and this may include the police if they feel you or someone else is in immediate danger

Swan's Workforce, Training & Diversity

Is your workforce diverse?

Our workforce reflects the communities we work within.  Our team includes people with physical disabilities, sensory disabilities and mental health conditions and from LBGTQ+ and BME groups.  We actively encourage people from diverse groups to join the workforce.

Will my advocate be trained in how to work with people like me who have personality disorder and other mental health issues?

Yes – Our entire workforce receive training in mental health issues.

I am LGBTQ+, how are your staff skilled to understand my needs? 

The Diversity Trust will deliver the following training to our team – Diversity in Practice: Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans (LGBT+) Communities and Transgender Awareness: Working with the Trans Community.  These courses are delivered by trainers with lived experience.

We also look for experience and skills in this area whilst recruiting to workforce.

I am trans – how are your staff skilled to understand my needs?

The Diversity Trust will deliver the following training to our team – Transgender Awareness: Working with the Trans Community.  This course is delivered by trainers with lived experience.

We also look for experience and skills in this area whilst recruiting to workforce.

Will you have advocates who can speak different languages or are from different cultural backgrounds? I would prefer to work with someone who can speak my language and/or understands my culture.

Our aim is for the workforce to reflect the communities we work within.  We will work towards having staff and volunteers from a variety of cultural backgrounds.  We will endeavour to match you with someone who understands your culture.

What translation services will you provide?

We have some in-house translation services, including Braille.  We access external foreign language translation.

I am a victim of hate crime. At the moment I receive help from a SARI advocate, will I still work with them? If not, what hate crime advocacy will you offer me?

SARI Advocates are not transferring to the new service.  If you choose to transfer you will be assigned a new Advocate, but continue to receive advocacy in relation to the hate crime you have experienced.

Do you have BME staff and staff who are from minority faiths e.g. Muslim, Hindu, Sikh who will understand my needs and culture?

Our workforce reflects the communities we work within, including BME.  We actively encourage applicants from minority faiths to apply for our workforce vacancies.  We will endeavour to assign you an Advocate who understands your needs and culture.

I do not speak English – how will you meet my needs?

We will match you with an Advocate who speaks your language, or use a translation service.

I would really like a BME worker who understands my cultural needs – is this possible?

We will endeavour to assign you an Advocate who understands your cultural needs.

I would really like an LGBTQ+ worker who understands my needs – is this possible?

We will endeavour to match you with an Advocate who understands your needs.

I am a victim of honour based violence – how will you support my case?

We will endeavour to match you with an Advocate who understands your specialist needs.  Your Advocate will work with you to develop a Advocacy Support Plan – you will agree what support is required and how this support will be delivered.  Our workforce will have training in honour based violence. 

I have been the victim of sexual abuse, will your advocates understand my needs?

Yes – our training package includes sexual abuse awareness.

I have Asperger’s syndrome, will your advocates be trained in how to support people like me?

Yes – our training package includes awareness in relation to working with people with Asperger’s Syndrome.