6. Accessibility 

The interviews sought to identify any barriers to advocates and advocacy organisations accessing the resources being offered by DARU. Most responses were around the need for plain English either at forums, training or in print resources. SARU has a role in providing plain English resources to the advocacy sector, which can be supported by DARU through their partner relationship.

There were a range of different views about the accessibility of the DARU website, with some organisations happy with the layout and design, while others raised concerns about navigation as well as text-heavy content.

None of the advocacy organisations saw any major barriers preventing them from accessing any resources provided by DARU. Comments from organisations on accessibility have been grouped below into general issues, training and events, and online resources. Comments on improving accessibility included:


  • “Use plain English as much as possible.”
  • “Plain English can be better than multiple languages because often people with a disability cannot read in their own language.”

Training and events 

  • “Inclusion of people with a disability is always an issue in the advocacy sector, especially in meetings.”
  • “Longer lead time (for events) would help, because then you can book in travel time and arrange workloads. However, sometimes things still come up at the last minute and we have to prioritise work over attending events.”
  • “Face-to-face interaction is better and smaller groups are better too, because then people can actively engage with each other and discuss issues.”
  • “Continue to hold meetings after 10am so we have time to come into the city, otherwise you get stuck in peak hour traffic and that is too hard if you are coming in from the regions.”
  • “Events shouldn’t be more than four hours long, because then your whole day is gone.”
  • “If an event is more than two hours away, then it will take two days for me to go.”
  • “Holding training and forums at VicRAN meetings is good because most regional organisations are already all together.”
  • “DARU could hold regional forums, training or events in addition to Melbourne-based events.”
  • “Regional forums could be rotated at different central regional locations.”
  • “Vary the days (on which events) are held so that if it falls on a day people are not in, then they could attend the next event. If it is always on the same day, I will never be able to go.”
  • “On-site training and capacity building would be wonderful.”

Online Resources 

  • “Forums and meetings could be attended through online conferencing, which would help people in regional and outer metropolitan areas to attend and reduce costs.”
  • “Tables (in documents) can be difficult for people with vision impairment.”
  • “Provide targeted and clear information on what DARU is offering. Who, what, when, where, why?”
  • “Victorian Legal Aid training is recorded and published for members, and is a good example of what DARU could offer the sector.” Note: some organisations expressed concerns about recording and sharing discussions at forums.


Actions for DARU

DARU has taken on board the above comments and is looking to provide the sector with:

  • regional forums, with Ballarat, Colac, Benella and Traralgon under early planning
  • clearer information on the nature of upcoming training and events so people can prioritise this if needed
  • online access to material where possible
  • plain English resources (where they are not already provided) in partnership with SARU.

DARU will need to continue to engage with disability advocacy organisations across the sector to ensure any new resources it is providing are relevant and practical.



The feedback from interviewed stakeholders confirms that DARU was providing resources in an accessible manner. However, the time-poor, part-time and resource-poor nature of the sector is presenting a major barrier to access.

Ultimately, the sector is under-resourced and needs more advocates working in organisations so that they are able to address day-to-day concerns as well as undertake organisational management and professional development. This would also mean organisations were more likely to engage in systemic advocacy.

The NDIS is expected to increase the demand on the already-stretched advocacy sector. Without capacity building, the sector may not be able to effectively engage with the NDIS or meet the existing demands upon its resources.