Definition of Advocacy
The term ‘advocacy’ means standing up for your rights, standing up for someone else, or an issue you see within the broader community. Advocacy could be about speaking up about issues that are impacting you in your life or speaking out on a larger scale to create positive change in society for many people.
There are four main models of advocacy:
Self advocacy is when you advocate for yourself. However, you are not alone. Deaf Australia can support you in learning how to express yourself and stand up for your rights. Being a self advocate means that you can make your own decisions and make sure that others respect your choices. You will be in charge of the advocacy process and as part of that you can ask for support from other people. You decide what support you need.
Individual advocacy is when a professional advocate supports a person with a problem. An individual advocate either supports a person one-to-one or supports them in advocating for themselves. An individual advocate must be independent, only be on the side of the person with disability and only represent their interests. Deaf Australia may be able to connect you with the appropriate advocacy organisation if required.
Legal advocacy is when a professional advocate with legal experience supports a person with a legal issue. The advocate can help the person to understand their legal rights and through the justice system. They can also stand up for a person if they are being discriminated against, abused or neglected. Legal advocacy can also help make changes in the law so it works better for people with disabilities, for example. Deaf Australia can connect you with the appropriate legal advocacy organisation.
Systemic advocacy works to solve an issue that affects a large group of people. The sort of issues this type of advocacy addresses are problems with the system, meaning that a lot of people are experiencing the same problem. This is the main area of work that Deaf Australia does. We need to hear from our community to identify areas of advocacy.