The VOICES project is based on the principles of respect and empowerment. Respecting other people’s voices and their stories and empowering people to create change is at the core of our work. The project will be run based on the values listed below and participants will also be asked to agree to a set of ground rules, based on these values, before participating in workshops.

We believe that everyone has an equal right to enjoy legal capacity

This project is committed to the principles set out under Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that people with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others. The enjoyment of legal capacity should not be based on a person’s perceived decision-making ability.

We believe that people with disabilities should be supported in exercising their legal capacity

Based on Article 12(3) of the CRPD we believe that all forms of substituted decision-making which discriminate against persons with disabilities should be abolished in favour of systems that support people with disabilities to exercise their legal capacity.

We believe in respecting other people’s voices and opinions

Listening to and learning from the personal experiences of people is at the core of our work. Therefore, we ask all participants to not make statements which dismiss the lived experience of an individual or suggest that it is less valuable than other kinds of evidence.

All participants will be given an opportunity to speak during the workshops, and no one individual or group will be allowed to dominate the space. We will also ensure that the workshops are a safe space in which people feel comfortable sharing their stories and that personal information or experiences shared by the participants will remain confidential.

We believe in empowering people to drive change

We believe that stories of people’s lived experiences can be powerful forces in driving change. However, we ask that in speaking about their lived experience, participants agree to only speak about their own individual experiences, rather than to tell the stories of others they know.