Advocacy remains unavailable to the many vulnerable and powerless people in our society who cannot afford the services of regular advocates. As a result, many of these people’s rights to lead a life free from exploitation, discrimination, exclusion, isolation and neglect are denied. This especially applies to people with a disability.
DEFINITION OF ADVOCACY:
Advocacy is speaking, acting and writing, with minimal conflict of interest, on behalf of the sincerely perceived interests of a disadvantaged person or group to promote, protect and defend their welfare and justice by:
- being on their side and no-one else’s;
- being primarily concerned with their fundamental needs;
- remaining loyal and accountable to them in a way which is emphatic and vigorous and which is, or is likely to be, costly to the advocate or advocacy group.
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated operates systems social advocacy from a human rights perspective.
Systems advocates challenge issues that have wide-ranging consequences and effects on communities and groups of individuals.
OUR SYSTEMS ADVOCACY USES HUMAN RIGHTS, POLITICAL AND SYSTEMS BASED APPROACHES THAT:
- aims to influence and challenge ‘the system';
- works to empower the marginalised also involves working with the powerful... by creating a more receptive climate;
- challenges discriminatory laws in the courts.
WHAT WE DO:
- Meet with politicians and bureaucrats to educate, inform and influence their decision making processes.
- Write submissions and responses to policy and legislations
- Liaise with service providers and work with them to ensure that clients are able to pursue their own goals, not merely be recipients of a service.
- Engage on advisory committees and reference groups
- Appear before parliamentary and Senate inquiries
- Send delegates to the United Nations
- Media interviews and campaigns
- Representation in courts, tribunals and inquests
- Engagement with statutory bodies such as the Coroner’s office, Public Advocate, Public Guardian and Public Trustee
- Produce publications, guides, factsheets and handbooks
- Conduct forums, workshops and presentations for community education and engagement
- Appear as speakers in conferences, workshops and forums
- Engage with allies on issues of mutual interest such as The Human Rights Act for Queensland.
The Convention on the Rights of People with Disability guides all of the work of all QAI staff.
QAI’S STRATEGIC GOALS
- To ensure respect for the fundamental rights for all people with disability to participate in a full and inclusive life.
- To ensure vulnerable people with disability are given the supports needed to exercise their rights, and to protect/safeguard them from cruel inhuman and degrading treatment and any other unreasonable restrictions.
- To ensure that all people with disability have genuine autonomy over their own lives; to be able to choose where they live, with whom and how; to have the culturally appropriate support and authoritative mechanisms to exercise their self-determination.
THE AREAS OF FOCUS FOR QAI SYSTEMS ADVOCACY INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT RESTRICTED TO):
- Access to Justice in the criminal justice system with particular emphasis on the Forensic System and indefinite detention
- Progressing support for decision making and autonomy for marginalised people with disability and ensuring that Guardianship is the last resort and least restrictive
- We aim to ensure that Restrictive Practices are replaced with the supports needed to ensure that all people with disabilities are able to live in their communities without physical, chemical restraints or seclusion
- Challenging the issue of forced co-tenancies and the proliferation of congregate living arrangements, and ensuring people have choice about where, how and with whom they live.
- QAI aims to ensure that advocacy remains accessible to all, is independent and with minimal conflict of interest.