What is individual advocacy?
An individual advocate works with you when you think you have been treated unfairly or you are looking for a solution to a specific problem or issue.
To do this we:
- listen to you and get an understanding of your issue
- give you information about services, supports and resources
- talk to you about your options and help you to make your own choices
- refer you to other organisations in the community that can help you
- encourage and support you to speak up for your rights and make your own decisions.
Our individual advocacy services are available to any person with a disability in WA, you don’t have to be a member to access advocacy.
All our advocacy follows the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
How our individual advocacy works
Anyone can contact us for information but we are only able to provide advocacy if a person with a disability, or their legal guardian, asks for our help.
All new requests for individual advocacy are sent through to our Service Manager to be assessed and allocated to an advocate. This usually takes around five working days.
We aren’t always able to help straight away. If we don’t have an advocate available to help you straight away, we will put your name on a waiting list. If we have a waiting list, we will tell you, and let you know how long you might be waiting for support.
We will help you as soon as we can but we help people with the most serious and urgent issues first and prioritise people who can’t access other services for help.
Once you have been allocated an advocate, they will contact you and organise a time to talk to you about your issue and how they can support you. They will talk to you about things like:
- your issue in detail to make sure they understand
- your options
- what you would like to happen – the result that you want
- how they will stay in contact with you
- our service, including your rights and responsibilities
- creating an action plan, which will include your goals, what will be done, who will do it and how long it will take
- getting your consent to advocate for you
- how to make a complaint if you are unhappy with our service.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service. For more information, visit: National Relay Service.
When will we close an issue?
Our advocacy isn’t ongoing. We work with people on specific issues. We will close an advocacy issue if:
- you ask us to close it
- we get a positive outcome
- you and your advocate agree that you aren’t going to get the outcome you want
- you are getting help with your issue from another service
- we can no longer effectively help you. This can happen if we have exhausted all avenues and options or your goal is not realistic.
- you make our staff feel unsafe
- we have tried to contact you and you have not returned our calls or emails.
What our advocacy doesn’t do
We are not able to:
- give you legal advice, financial advice or assessments
- manage or coordinate services – such as finding you a house or applying for a service or benefit
- provide you with personal care or support workers
- provide mediation or counselling
- do something for you that you or someone else is able to do
- make decisions for you
- investigate an organisation and make them take action.
If we can’t help you, we will tell you why and refer you to another service if possible.