Advocacy for people with disability can be defined as speaking, acting or writing with minimal conflict of interest on behalf of the interests of a disadvantaged person or group, in order to promote, protect and defend the welfare of and justice for either the person or group by:
- Acting in a partisan manner (i.e. being on their side and no one else's);
- Being primarily concerned with their fundamental needs;
- Remaining loyal and accountable to them in a way which is empathic and vigorous whilst respecting the rights of others and ensuring duty of care at all times.
Advocacy for the Individual
Under this type of advocacy, we work with the person with disability as well as their family when the need arises but always in the interest and with the consent of the person with disability. However when working with family members, the person with disability remains our client and their wishes, decisions and well-being is our primary goal.
Approaches to Individual disability advocacy can be categorised into these broad models:
Seeks to support people with a disability (also called protégés) by matching them with volunteers. Some of the matches made may last for life.
Works with parents and family members to enable them to act as advocates with and on behalf of a family member with disability. Family advocates work with parents and family members on either a short-term or an issue-specific basis. Family advocates work within the fundamental principle that the rights and interests of the person with disability are upheld at all times.
Advocacy that represents the rights and interests of a whole group with similar concerns and issues.
Seeks to uphold the rights and interests of people with all types of disabilities by addressing legal aspects of instances of discrimination, abuse and neglect.
Works with parents to enable them to act as advocates with and on behalf of a family member with disability. Parent advocates work on the basis that the rights and interests of the person with disability are upheld at all times.
Support from advocates who have shared or similar experiences with a person they are supporting.
Supports people with disability to advocate on their own behalf, to the extent possible, or on a one-to-one or group basis.
Systemic advocacy seeks to introduce and influence longer term changes to ensure the rights of people with disability are attained and upheld to positively affect the quality of their lives.
What can an advocate do for you?
- Assist you to be treated fairly
- Promote your best interests, listen to you and help you be heard
- Speak up for you and protect your rights and assist to stop abuse
What will an Advocate do?
- Give you information, resources and options available to you to enable you to make your own decisions
- Ask you to fully participate in your matter to the best of your ability and always ask you for your instructions
- Ensure that you are involved in every step
- Speak and act on your wishes and decisions (as long it is not harmful to yourself or others)
- Be concerned with your fundamental needs
What advocacy is not about
- Becoming personally involved and/or crossing professional boundaries
- Counselling Services
- Decision Making or Substituted Decision Making
- Financial assistance
- Legal Services and advice
- Personal care or service delivery
Independent Advocacy in the Tropics Inc., is a Certified Disability Advocacy Organisation accredited under the National Standards for Disability Services for Individual and Systemic Advocacy.
We deliver a FREE service available to those of all disabilities, of any age or gender and from all cultural backgrounds who live within our funded Service Regions. This free service is delivered from our Funding Partners.