2. Introduction

DARU was established in 2007 under the Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-12 to provide additional resources to Victoria’s disability advocacy sector. A new State Disability Plan 2013-16 is being developed by the Office for Disability, within the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS). The framework for the new State Disability Plan recognises the importance of advocacy within the sector as an independent voice for people with a disability. Independent disability advocacy will be critical to promote and uphold the rights of people with a disability during implementation of the Victorian State Disability Plan 2013-16 and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The DARU terms of reference lists two target groups of stakeholders:

  • independent disability advocacy organisations funded by either the Commonwealth or State governments
  • self advocacy organisations, generic advocacy organisations, workers in the disability sector that have an advocacy role, and RuralAccess and MetroAccess workers.

This project has focused on the first group of stakeholders and self advocacy organisations, who fall within the second group. DARU supports self advocacy organisations through SARU. The remainder of the second group of stakeholder have not been the subject of this project.

Services DARU is funded to provide to the disability advocacy sector include:

  • developing networks
  • providing information
  • supporting organisations on process and procedure
  • improving the practice of advocacy
  • supporting the meaningful inclusion of people with a disability within advocacy organisations.

DARU does not provide advocacy services itself, nor does it undertake systemic advocacy on behalf of the sector. Instead, DARU provides a range of resources to support advocacy organisations and self advocacy organisations within Victoria.


PROJECT PURPOSE: Engage with DARUs stakeholders to identify opportunities to improve how DARU resources the sector.

MEASURE OF SUCCESS: Over half DARUs client stakeholder group indicate they value DARU’s services and make suggestions on the types of resources needed.


While DARU has been fulfilling its terms of reference, it has been difficult to evaluate its impact upon the Victorian disability advocacy sector.

DARU regularly provides feedback questionnaires at any event it hosts and has run a number of online surveys to determine the accessibility and usefulness of the resources it is providing to advocacy organisations. Too few advocates have responded to these surveys and questionnaires to provide meaningful results. This has meant DARU does not have reliable information on the usefulness of the resources it is providing to the advocacy sector.

To provide that reliable information, DARU undertook this Stakeholder Engagement project. The project has three objectives:

  1. to determine which existing resources DARU should retain or discontinue
  2. to advise on the accessibility of the resources to advocacy organisations and self advocacy organisations
  3. to provide ideas from the disability advocacy sector on possible future resources to offer.
    By improving its understanding of the needs and accessibility requirements of disability advocacy organisations, DARU will be better able to strengthen both the capacity and capability of the sector to better advocate on behalf of people with a disability.