Advocacy & Independent Visiting

Advocacy means having someone to help you deal with some of life’s difficult times; it means getting your views heard when decisions are being made about your life! An advocate can help you decide what you want to happen, and how you can make your views clear to adults so that they recognise your wishes and feelings. Advocates are trained to know the law, and to be able to talk with you sensitively and honestly. Advocates are independent people, who are not employed by any Health or Social Care services.

Advocacy Services

If you aren’t happy with your experience of any Health or Social Care service and you want to make a complaint about it, you can refer yourself to one of two local advocacy services:

  1. If you are in care or a care leaver, call NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) on 0808 808 1001 or email them at
  2. If you have special educational needs or a disability and you are 16-25yrs, or you are the parent of such a young person, call DIAS 01392 383000 and ask for ‘Devon Information, Advice and Support’.

Advocacy is also available for some other specific groups of children and young people.

NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) can offer advocacy support

  1. If you are involved in a Child Protection process and are aged 4-18yrs,
  2. If you are in Care or a Care-leaver (up to 25 years old)
  3. If you are privately fostered,
  4. If you are adopted and you are experiencing difficulties with your adoptive family,
  5. If you are placed in the Atkinson Secure Unit

In any of these cases call NYAS on 0808 808 1001, email them at or ask your Social Worker to make a referral to NYAS for you.


  1. If you are a young person with special educational needs or a disability
  2. If you are in the process of moving from Children’s to Adults services,
  3. If you are the parent or carer of someone who is in such a situation.

You can call them on 01392 383000 or email or ask your Social Worker to make a referral to DAC for you.

NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) Downloads


Independent Visiting

An Independent Visitor is someone who will build a long term relationship with you when you have little or no contact with your family or with other significant adults. They will make regular visits and keep in touch by email, phone or letter. They can give advice and help get you involved in hobbies, sports, social or educational activities. They will visit for between 6 months and 2 years.
What you talk about with them won’t get passed onto your Social Worker or other people unless there are good reasons to do this like you or another child may be at risk of harm.
To have a IV you need to be between 4 and 18. If you would like an IV you should talk to your Social Worker or Independent Reviewing Officer.
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