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Disability advocacy is acting, speaking or writing to promote, protect and defend the human rights of people with disability.

An independent advocate, in relation to a person with disability, means a person who:

  • is independent of the organisations providing supports or services to the person with disability; and
  • provides independent advocacy for the person with disability, to assist them to exercise choice and control and to have their voice heard in matters that affect them; and
  • acts at the direction of the person with disability, reflecting the person’s expressed wishes, will, preferences and rights; and
  • is free of relevant conflicts of interest; and
  • carries out advocacy and supported decision making free of unconscious bias. This means they don’t involve their personal beliefs, attitudes or goals in the support and advice they give the person. Rather they present the person living with disability with all the information they need to make an informed decision.

Why does independence matter?

A disability advocate must be independent and act solely in the interests of the person with disability who they are supporting. An advocate cannot be independent if they, or the organisation they work for, might benefit in some way from influencing the outcomes of the advocacy – this would be a conflict of interest.

For more information on this, please refer to the Department of Social Services Disability Advocacy Fact Sheet.


DACSSA delivers free advocacy services to people living with disability, their families and carers state-wide. This includes NDIS Appeals Services.

Advocacy can happen in different ways. DACSSA is innovative and collaborative when it comes to providing advocacy services. This means we look for new ways to meet your needs and address disability issues in a way that aims to work to improve the lives of people with disability. We aim to allow people to understand their rights and make informed choices.

We can assist you to address your grievances or resolve your issues by:

  • Developing and planning a way forward that considers your goal outcome and the resolution of your matter.
  • Informing you about different systems and options for pursuing formal complaints.
  • Informing you about your rights.
  • Attending meetings with you.
  • Making enquiries to Government and non-Government agencies with you and on your behalf with your permission.
  • Accessing or creating documents with your permission.
  • Referring and connecting you to helpful agencies and services.
  • Supporting you to navigate external and statutory complaints processes.

We cannot assist you if…

  • Your issue is not disability related.
  • You require a legal service.
  • You need diagnostic advice.
  • You require financial support.
  • You require case management.

While there are some matters that DACSSA cannot assist with, we will always take time to hear about the issues you’re experiencing and connect you with an appropriate referral service who may be better positioned to meet your needs.

For situations of multiple or compounding support needs

DACSSA provides advocacy and support addressing a specific issue.

A DACSSA advocate is able to listen to your issues and help to clarify and identify the issues at hand, help to understand the urgency of each issue and assist to devise a plan forward.

If you have multiple or compounding issues, DACSSA may need to provide assistance in stages. We will always attempt to provide support for urgent matters as quickly as possible, however if you have multiple issues that require support, we may need to place your case back on a wait-list in order to support clients matters based on urgency. We will recontact you once you reach the top of the client list again.


DACSSA understands that advocacy should be tailored to suit individual needs. What works for some people doesn’t work for others, and good practice means being flexible and responsive to your specific disability needs. For this reason, we have different types of advocacy models that we can use to help people.

DACSSA are also able to come and speak with groups regarding advocacy and rights.


Self-Advocacy happens when a DACSSA Advocate or NDIS Appeals Officer meets with you for a 1-hour consultation. During this consultation the advocate will hear about the issues you’re experiencing, provide you with information about your rights and help you to plan a way forward in order to achieve your goal outcome.

Refer to some of our case studies:

Individual Advocacy

Individual advocacy happens when a DACSSA Advocate or NDIS Appeals Officer is allocated to you, usually after a prescribed waiting period. This person will hear about the issues you’re experiencing, help you to plan for a way forward and support you to ensure your voice is heard in order to resolve your issue.

Refer to some of our case studies:

Systemic Advocacy

DACSSA may notice that the issues you’re experiencing are happening to other people on a larger scale in the community, or reflect a flawed system. This is when systemic advocacy happens in order to counter oppressive systems and build community capacity. DACSSA does this through social policy consultation and inter-professional collaboration with Government and non-Government organisations.

Refer to some of our case studies:


If you are contacting DACSSA on behalf of another person, DACSSA will need to understand that you have consent to act on behalf of this person before progressing (e.g. Parent, Legal Guardian, or through written authority). To find out more about consent, or to download a consent form, please visit our consent page.

Please refer to our Advocacy Process page to understand stages following your referral or request for advocacy.

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