The disability advocacy landscape in Victoria includes generalist, specialist, region-based, self-advocacy and community volunteers who assist people with a disability.

Contributor

Philip Grano

Principal Legal Officer, Office of the Public Advocate

Disability advocacy

Last updated

1 July 2020

Defining advocacy

Advocacy is work that is intended to support people in asserting their rights and interests, or that asserts their rights and interests with them. Advocacy may be for individuals or be about changing laws, systems and policies.

Types of advocacy services

Disability advocacy services are divided into generalist and specialist services. The generalist services are usually tied to a local area and do not cover the whole of Victoria. Specialist services may be state-wide or local. Usually specialist services either work on specific issues or are connected to a particular type of disability. For example, the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council works with people who have a mental illness. The Association of Children with a Disability advocates on issues affecting children and their families.

To find the most appropriate disability advocacy service for your needs, contact the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU) (see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter).

Support for advocacy services

Advocacy services established a network called Disability Advocacy Victoria (www.disabilityadvocacyvic.org.au).

Self-advocacy

The role of self-advocacy organisations is to assist people with a disability to advocate for themselves in all aspects of everyday life. For more information, contact the Self Advocacy Resource Unit (see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter).

Citizen advocacy

Citizen advocacy programs link people with disabilities to community volunteers. Volunteers advocate on behalf of people with disabilities and assist them in accessing community services and gaining their rights. Citizen advocacy organisations are based regionally. Contact DARU to find your local organisation.

Rural, metro and deaf access projects

These projects are funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide disability access workers to local councils. These workers plan and develop strategies across education and training, transport, health, accommodation and housing, physical access planning, sport, recreation and the arts. If you need help in relation to local services, contact the worker at your local council.

Back to
Disability, mental illness and the law

Buy the chapter ‘Disability: Asserting your rights’