Advocacy Support Policy



Melbourne Disability Services recognises the importance of ensuring the participant’s right to use an advocate or representative of their choice is maintained. Both participants and potential participants have the right to select and involve an advocate, or a representative of their choice, to participate or act on their behalf at any time.




This policy applies to all participants, staff, volunteers and stakeholders.




Advocacy is the active support for a cause or position, and, in this context, it is an expression of support for a person who may find it difficult to speak for him or herself. It may include matters such as achieving social justice, improving a person’s wellbeing, prevention of abusive and discriminatory treatment or stopping unjust and unfair treatment, so it is possible that a person’s fundamental needs and interests are met.

Below is a list of six types of advocacy:

  1. Individual advocacy - A one-on-one approach, aiming to prevent or address instances of discrimination or abuse.
  2. Systemic advocacy - Working to influence or secure long-term changes to ensure the collective rights and interests of people with disabilities.
  3. Family advocacy - A parent or family member advocates with, and on behalf of, a family member with a disability.
  4. Citizen advocacy - Matches people with disabilities to volunteers.
  5. Legal advocacy - Upholds the rights and interests of individual people with disabilities by addressing the legal aspects of discrimination, abuse and neglect.
  6. Self-advocacy - Supports people with disabilities to advocate for themselves, or as a group.




All participants have the right to use an advocate of their choice to represent their interests and speak on their behalf regarding any aspect of the supports or services they receive.

Our staff will work cooperatively with the participant's nominated advocate and will show the same respect to the advocate as is shown to the participant. When a participant cannot advocate for themselves, it is Melbourne Disability Services’ policy to ensure that the participant’s interests are represented and supported using a substitute decision-maker.



Advocacy Principles

  • Melbourne Disability Services will ensure that all staff receive training in the use of advocates.
  • Melbourne Disability Services will maintain printed material on advocacy and advocacy services.
  • Melbourne Disability Services will maintain local advocacy resource/contact lists.
  • Melbourne Disability Services will work cooperatively with any nominated advocate chosen by the participant and show the same respect to the advocate, as is shown to the participant.
  • Melbourne Disability Services will utilise a governance system to enable Melbourne Disability Services to identify where a participant needs advocacy.


Easy Read Advocacy PDF