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Understanding the Importance of Disability Advocacy

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Disability advocacy speaks to the fundamental needs, rights and interests of people with disability. Advocacy is important because your voice is important. Be heard.

What is Disability Advocacy?

Disability advocacy is acting, speaking or writing to promote, protect and defend the rights of people with disability. A disability advocate is someone who is independent from the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Commission and any NDIS providers who offer supports or services to people with disability. This is to remove any conflict of interest.

Advocacy helps people with disability facing complex challenges, people who cannot advocate for themselves, or don’t have family, friends or peers who can support them in an informal capacity. Disability advocates can advocate for themselves or another person or group, to ensure choice and control is maintained and the person they are supporting has their voice heard.

Types of Disability Advocacy

In Australia, there are six broad models of how disability advocacy is approached in Australia. These are referred to as:

  • Self-advocacy: Someone with disability who speaks for and represents themselves.

  • Individual advocacy: A professional advocate, friend or volunteer on a one-to-one basis to prevent or address discrimination, abuse and neglect.

  • Citizen advocacy: People with disability are matched with suitable community volunteers.

  • Family advocacy: Parents and family members are provided assistance with advocating on behalf of the person with disability for a particular issue.

  • Legal advocacy: The rights and interests of individual people with disability are upheld by addressing the legal aspects of discrimination, abuse and neglect.

  • Systemic advocacy: Aimed at removing barriers and addressing discrimination to ensure the rights of people with disability.

Why is disability advocacy so important?

Although the NDIS has brought a huge shift in the supports and funding people with disability can receive and access, disability advocates are still important to help give people with complex and specialised issues a voice and a platform to advocate for their rights.

Advocacy provides assistance and support to ensure that:

  • Rights are upheld;

  • Choice and control is maintained, and people with a disability have their voice heard;

  • Any needs and viewpoints are presented to government, service providers and the broader community; and

  • Changing of policies and practices to promote fair treatment and social justice for people with a disability.

How to find a disability advocate

If you have a disability or have family member, friend, or neighbour who might need further support navigating the NDIS, you can search the Disability Advocacy Finder to find Commonwealth, state, and territory government funded disability advocacy agencies in your local area. If you’re wanting more information on disability advocacy, our friendly team at First2Care can help.

Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or



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