The advocacy service has become more focused on its core business over the years, but the skills of advocates are more relevant than ever, says long-term advocate Gillian Adams, Dunedin. “You have to balance the concerns of the complainant with the reality-check of the situation. I enjoy helping people see things from other perspectives.
It’s never linear, you have to clarify the complainant’s concern and do some straight-talking, and it can be difficult to assign the impact of a situation. It’s endlessly fascinating.” Gillian has been an advocate for 19 years and says, compared to when she began, there is now a clearer understanding of the function of the Trust and the role of advocates. She’s noticed some of the benefits of the COVID-19 lockdown in some parts of the community. Corrections facilities reported a feeling of security and safety, and there were no complaints about restricted access for visiting family.