An Introduction to Disability Advocacy

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About this course

Disability advocacy is  vital for empowering people with disability to exercise their human rights and avoid discrimination. Disability advocates work to ensure that the voice of the person with a disability is heard and is central to all decision making in all areas of life that affect them.

In this program you will learn:

  • How disability advocacy fits into a Human Rights framework
  • The basics of discrimination law
  • How people with little or no decision making capacity are protected by law
  • How advocates use the complaints bodies operating in Victoria to ensure the rights of people with disability are upheld
  • What skills and knowledge an effective disability advocate uses
  • How to identify and respond to incidents of abuse and neglect
  • How to apply advocacy practice

Watch the promotional video to gain a good overview of the course.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed with new disability advocates in mind. However anyone who does advocacy in their everyday lives will find this course valuable including:

  • People with disability
  • Parents and other family members
  • Disability support workers
  • Allied health professionals
  • Government representatives


This project was made possible through a Disability Advocacy Innovation Grant, an initiative of the Victorian Government. It was supported by a dynamic working group and a series of expert subject advisors.

In particular, thanks goes to the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission , the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Department of Social Services and the Disability Services Commissioner who were all generous  with providing feedback through the development stages and giving permission for their videos, publications and other resources to be used in this program.

Finally, DARU would like to particularly acknowledge the disability advocates featuring in this course who work tirelessly to advance  the human rights of people with disability.  They have volunteered their time to this project and their commitment and insight was invaluable in giving a genuine perspective about disability advocacy.


Module 1: Types of Advocacy

Independent disability advocacy is funded by both the Victorian and Australian Governments to provide a range of advocacy support. This module explains what the different types of advocacy delivered by funded agencies are. | Duration: 40 minutes

Module 2: To Stand Beside - Disability Advocates At Work

This module looks at the skills and knowledge disability advocates use to be effective. Some practicing disability advocates from the Victorian Rural Advocacy Network (VicRAN) share their experience about the role. | Duration: 30 minutes

Module 3: The Human Rights Framework

Human rights promote dignity, equality and freedom. Human rights are protected because they are written into international, Australian and Victorian laws. This module outlines how the rights of people with disability fit into this framework. | Duration: 30 minutes

Module 4: Tools of the Trade - Introducing Legal Instruments

The legal framework is the basis of human rights protection. It is made up of many different legal instruments, including: Acts, Standards, Guidelines and Plans. All of these instruments play a role in upholding the rights of people with disability. This module does not have the scope to cover all applicable legal instruments in depth. it will, however, provide you with a solid foundation in discrimination and decision making law. | Duration: 1 hour

Module 5: Safeguards and Oversight

The protection of Human Rights is supported by government mandated safeguarding measures and oversight bodies. This module introduces what reporting obligations advocates have, and outlines the scope for complaints under the more commonly used bodies. This module concludes with our very own ‘Gogglebox’ episode where Ba Hung shares his real life story navigating the disability support system, with his advocate, Amanda Roe. | Duration: 1 hour

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