Advocates employed by independent disability advocacy agencies are available to support people with disabilities to speak out to pursue and protect their rights and interests:
Individual and Legal advocacy agencies specialise in advocating for and with an individual or a group.
Citizen and Family advocacy agencies support others to provide advocacy for an individual.
Self advocacy agencies support a person to advocate for themselves. Info
Systemic advocacy agencies focus on driving systems change that will benefit significant numbers of people with disabilities.
Independent advocacy organisations may provide one or more of these six models of disability advocacy. Info
An independent advocate will:
- listen to a person
- identify the issues that they can assist with
- provide information about options for addressing the issues
- assist a person to represent their views and wishes to others
An advocate is independent when they are free to be on the side of a person or people with disabilities and no-one else’s. An advocate is not independent and will have conflicting loyalties when they are employed by a service provider or by government.
An independent advocate can assist a person with disability:
- prior to and throughout the NDIS eligibility and assessment processes
- to exercise choice and control in relation to their supports and services
- when any issue or conflict arises with the Agency, or a service provider
- to engage in service quality processes
- when an issue arises in relation to the services, supports or policies delivered by other arms of government
The importance of advocacy is recognised in the general principles guiding actions under the Act.
The National Disability Strategy also recognises its significance: “advocacy supports people to make sure their rights are promoted and valued, to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, especially around access to services and support, and to be actively involved in the life of their communities”.
See the DANA website for independent advocacy organisations operating in your State or Territory.
There is specific support available for people wishing to challenge an NDIA decision through External Review. Info