WHAT IS DISABILITY ADVOCACY?
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 DISABILITY ADVOCACY
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.
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.
TYPES OF ADVOCACY
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 Case Study
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:
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 Case Study
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