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.
Approaches to disability advocacy can be categorised into six broad models being:
- Citizen advocacy: matches people with disability with volunteers.
- Education advocacy:
- Family advocacy: helps parents and family members advocate on behalf of the person with disability for a particular issue.
- Individual advocacy: upholds the rights of individual people with disability by working on discrimination, abuse and neglect.
- Legal advocacy: upholds the rights and interests of individual people with disability by addressing the legal aspects of discrimination, abuse and neglect.
- Self advocacy: supports people with disability to advocate for themselves, or as a group.
- Systemic advocacy: seeks to remove barriers and address discrimination to ensure the rights of people with disability.
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.