Individual advocacy remains unavailable to many vulnerable and powerless people in our society, particularly those with disabilities, making it more difficult for them to assert their rights to lead a life free from exploitation, discrimination, exclusion and isolation. Systems advocates work to assert the human and legal rights of communities and groups of individuals.
DEFINITION OF ADVOCACY
Advocacy is acting, with minimal conflict of interest, on behalf 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 concerned primarily 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.
OUR SYSTEMS ADVOCACY USES HUMAN RIGHTS, POLITICAL AND SYSTEMS BASED APPROACHES THAT:
- aim to influence and challenge ‘the system’
- work to empower the marginalised by working with the powerful, creating a more receptive climate, and
- challenge disability discrimination.
WHAT WE DO:
- Meet with politicians and bureaucrats to educate and inform them and influence their decisions
- Write submissions on policy and legislation
- Liaise with service providers and work with them to ensure that their clients are able to pursue their goals and not be merely service recipients
- Engage 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 coronial inquiries
- Engage with statutory bodies such as the State Coroner, Public Advocate, Public Guardian and Public Trustee
- Produce publications, guides, factsheets and handbooks
- Conduct forums, workshops and offer presentations for community education and engagement
- Appear as speakers in conferences, workshops and forums
- Support people with disability to advocate about their systemic challenges
- Engage with allies on issues of mutual interest such as promoting Queensland human rights legislation.
The Convention on the Rights of People with Disability guides the work of all Q A I staff.
Q A I STRATEGIC GOALS
- To ensure respect for the fundamental right for all people with disability to participate in a full and inclusive life.
- To ensure vulnerable people with disability are supported to exercise their rights and are protected and safeguarded from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other unreasonable restrictions.
- To ensure that all people with disability have genuine autonomy: the right to choose where, with whom and how they live; to have culturally appropriate support and authoritative mechanisms to exercise self-determination.
THE AREAS OF FOCUS FOR Q A I 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
- Advancing support for decision making and autonomy for marginalised people with disability
- Ensuring that Guardianship is a last resort and the least restrictive alternative
- Ensuring that Restrictive Practices are replaced with supports that ensure that all people with disabilities are able to live in their communities without physical, chemical or mechanical restraints, containment or seclusion
- Challenging forced co-tenancies and the proliferation of congregate living arrangements
- Ensuring that people can choose where, how and with whom they live.
- Ensuring that advocacy remains accessible, independent and provided with minimal conflict of interest.