Can an advocate help support me and my child?
Advocates assist people with a disability to have their voices and opinions heard so that they can be empowered to experience the lives they want to live. It is often hard to go it alone and often a bit of support from someone skilled in advocacy is all you need to move forward.
Advocacy aims to increase a person’s control over goods, services and quality of life. Sometimes it is hard to stand up for yourself when you are not happy with a decision or the way you have been treated. Advocacy is aligned with change, often challenging what is unfair, unjust and wrong.
According to the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit, disability advocacy may include:
Providing information to people with disability about their human rights and identifying instances of discrimination
Assisting people with disability to uphold their rights by speaking with and writing to people and organisations to raise awareness of problems and seek solutions
Helping people with disability negotiate complaints processes or legal action to enforce their human rights
Writing submissions and lobbying government to make changes that promote and protect the rights of people with disability
Campaigning for social change by speaking to the media to raise awareness and highlight situations where people with disability are treated unfairly
A good advocate will focus on your needs, wishes and rights, including the protection of your privacy and confidential information. You should feel empowered and valued as an individual when engaging an advocate, with the advocate standing beside you in support.
Disability advocates often require a variety of skills, including:
Disability awareness, how to communicate with and support people with different disabilities
Understanding laws, legal instruments and jurisdictions
Understanding processes within oversight and complaints handling bodies
Applying a human rights approach to advocacy
Lobbying and running effective campaigns
Disability advocacy is not:
Making decisions for another person
Providing case management
There are many reasons why you might need the support of an advocate. You may need support when making a complaint, dealing with discrimination, abuse or neglect, communicating with agencies or support networks, or requesting a review of a NDIS Plan. Please speak to your Muddy Puddles Key Contact if you require help to connect with an advocate or try one of the options below.
Links to local organisations that may be able to support you with advocacy:
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) - 02 9370 3100
One Door – provide advocacy for carers of people requiring mental health support - 02 6492 1811
Intellectual Disability Rights Service - 1800 666 611
Information on Disability, Education and Awareness Services (IDEAS) - Kylie Edwards 0447 252 640
Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA) - Bega 02 6492 0200