What is Individual Advocacy?
Individual advocacy is action taken to assist individuals with a disability to defend and assert their rights and achieve equal access and participation in the community.
Advocacy for individuals is delivered at different levels:
- Some people need some initial information to help them advocate for themselves.
- Some people may need ongoing information and support to help them resolve an issue.
- Others may ask for or need personal representation from a GDAI advocate.
Where people are able, and wish to advocate for themselves, we will encourage and support them to do so. In general the less intervention on the part of the advocate the more empowering and satisfying it is for people to resolve their own issues.
If someone with a disability needs or asks for representation, GDAI can and will act on their behalf. In this case the advocate works closely with the person, and may need to seek information from family members or significant other people who are nominated by the person. This will only happen with the consent of the client.
The GDAI advocate gathers relevant information from the person and other sources before outlining options to address the person’s issue/s, including the positives, negatives and potential effects of each option. This enables the person to make an informed choice about which option to take and instruct the advocate to take that action.
The course of action taken to resolve the issue is always the person’s choice. The advocate works for the person in accordance with the person’s instructions, to resolve the issue and achieve a satisfactory outcome for the person.
Everyone has the right to express their views and be heard. Sometimes, in order to facilitate this, it is appropriate for the advocate to help the person express their views.
Entry to GDAI Service
GDAI provides an individual advocacy service to people with a disability, as well as advice when appropriate for carers and family members of people who have a disability.
When you ask for a service from GDAI we will:
- Do all we can to make you feel welcome and treat you with dignity and respect at all times.
- Clearly explain to you the details of the individual advocacy service and advise you on what GDAI can offer you.
- Deliver an individual advocacy service to you in a way that best empowers you.
- Prepare an individual advocacy plan with your input. You may have support for all planning and decision making from any person of your choice. This might be from an independent advocate, friend, or family member.
- All people seeking as advocacy service will be treated fairly. However, when a number of requests are received at the same time priority will be given to those deemed to be at risk or in the most need.
- People unable to be provided with service will where possible be referred or linked to other support services or networks.
Exiting the service
The service will cease
- When you no longer need the service.
- The problem has been resolved.
- You agree that after discussing all available options with your advocate that the outcome you want is not realistically achievable.
- When GDAI has referred you on to a more appropriate service that is better equipped to assist you and you do not need or want your progress monitored by GDAI.
- Your individual advocacy records will be retained by GDAI for 5 years.
- You will be asked to complete a review form to inform GDAI how the service has met/not met your needs. This will assist GDAI to continue to improve our services for people with disabilities.
- You will also be invited to participate in GDAI consumer and self-advocacy groups
Gippsland Local Government areas covered
GDAI provide advocacy support to people with a disability living in;
- Baw Baw
- South Gippsland
- Bass Coast
- Latrobe City
- East Gippsland
Priority for Service
Priority will be given to people who are unable to articulate their needs without support and may be experiencing potential abuse, discrimination or negligent treatment, denial or infringement of rights and social isolation.
The GDAI head office is located in Traralgon within the Latrobe City and provides outreach services across the six government areas of Gippsland.
Simply call our office or contact us via email to discuss your individual needs.
Become a member of GDAI
As a truly community based organisation, becoming a member of GDAI is open to all people in the community who wish to show support for the aims, vision and philosophy of Gippsland Disability Advocacy.
Complaints and Disputes
If you experience any problem with the advocacy service you receive from GDAI, or are unhappy with the way you were treated, you have the right to raise a complaint.
GDAI has a complaints and disputes procedure that is friendly and fair. If a problem does happen we will work through it with you until it is resolved.
You will not get into trouble for raising a complaint with GDAI. Your complaint is an opportunity for GDAI to improve our service. Information on how to raise a complaint is provided in the GDAI Client Information Handbook which you can download from our website.
In accordance with the Privacy Principles, GDAI will:
- Only collect information about you with your prior knowledge and consent
- We will only use personal information provided by you for the purpose it was collected
- We will not disclose personal information to a third party without your written consent
- Any personal information collected will be protected from unauthorised access, improper use, alteration or unlawful or accidental destruction or loss.