Published On: 31 January 2010Tags:

People with learning disabilities from black and minority ethnic communities are almost always under-represented in the client base of both voluntary and statutory service providers, suffering ‘double discrimination’ when attempting to access services appropriate to their cultural and support needs. This paper outlines the importance of advocacy in overcoming these obstacles to support, to tackle problems of racism and cultural stereotyping, and linguistic barriers, both in terms of service provision and a lack of specific terminology in some community languages.

Key messages:

  • People with learning disabilities from black and minority ethnic communities face ‘double discrimination’ in accessing public services
  • The concept of advocacy is itself problematic as it may not be widely or fully understood nor easily translatable for many black and minority ethnic communities
  • Developing cultural knowledge is crucial in working towards race equality in advocacy services. The advocacy practitioner must, through training and personal development, be able to respond appropriately and constructively to a black and minority ethnic client’s experience of racism
  • To promote full and equal access to public services, it is essential to meet the language requirements of those black and minority ethnic individuals who need to use advocacy services


  • Double discrimination
  • Advocacy: differing perceptions and understandings
  • The importance of cultural knowledge
  • Meeting the language needs of black and minority ethnic clients
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Author(s): Rorie Fulton; Kate Richardson;
Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 15
Publisher: Race Equality Foundation
Publication date:  January 2010