IDEAS Disability Advocacy Brokerage Service - DABS

Cute little girl with a painted hand who has Down Syndrome

What is disability advocacy? 

Disability advocacy is acting, speaking or writing to promote, protect and defend the human rights of people with disability.

This means that a support person or support organisation will help you to put your view forward. 

What types of disability advocacy are there? 

There are six types of disability advocacy: 

  1. Self advocacy - when you speak up and represent yourself. This type of advocacy does not mean that you are left on your own to stand up for yourself, it is really about you having a say in the support you want and need. Training is available for this type of advocacy
  2. Family Advocacy – when a member of your family becomes your advocate and acts on your behalf. This could be your mother, father, sister or other family member to help you to live a full and equal life. 
  3. Individual Advocacy – this is a one-on-one approach, which is undertaken by a professional advocate, relative, friend or volunteer, to prevent or address instances of where you may have been subject to unfair treatment or abuse.
  4. Legal Advocacy – where a lawyer provides you with legal representation in the justice system, pursues positive changes to legislation, or gives legal advice about discrimination and human rights.
  5. Citizen Advocacy – you are matched with a volunteer who gives their time, just because they want to. This is generally a community volunteer. These matches are only made if the community member has the correct skills to assist the person with disability.
  6. Systemic Advocacy – involves working for long-term social change to ensure the collective rights and interests of people with disability are served through legislation, policies and practices.

How does the disability advocacy system work? 

Disability advocates are employed by advocacy agencies. You do not need to pay to see an advocate, as the Australian Government provides funding through the National Disability Advocacy Program.  

Who is funded for disability advocacy?

There are two different sources of funding for Advocacy they are both State and Federal funding most receive Federal funding and a small minority receive State. 

Where can you go for help? 

Disability advocacy can be confusing. If you are having trouble working out where to begin, you can contact us on 1800 029 904 or chat to us via the online chat tool. IDEAS can put you in touch with advocacy groups. If you live in certain regions of NSW, we will listen to your story and find an Advocate for you. This fact sheet explains in more detail. Download it now. 


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