Disability Advocacy NSW (DANSW) and its advocates are committed to ensuring that reccurring problems for people with a disability are dealt with at a higher level in an attempt to stop the same problems happening to others . We try to build strong evidence based strategies to do this. However, systemic advocacy does not form the main part of DANSW’s advocacy work due to limited resources.
There are a range of areas DA is seeking to work on, however we try to strategically focus on one or two priority areas.
Students with a Disability
“A Parent’s Toolkit: school issues for students with a disability” by DA NSW is now available: A Parent’s Toolkit – School issues for students with disabilities v 1.1
Much of the reason for this toolkit is due to the large number of requests DA receives each year from parents whose children are experiencing problems at school – many of whom have been suspended or expelled for behaviours associated with their disability.
The aim of this toolkit is to provide a comprehensive guide for parents and advocates in relation to the NSW education system. The toolkit provides information on support funding, discipline, WH & S issues, bullying and discrimination. We hope that this toolkit will provide students with disabilities as well as their parents and advocates with useful information, including self-advocacy skills.
Many of our clients experience disadvantage in the justice system. This is evident in general research and the fact that our most common advocacy issues relate to legal matters.
Mid North Coast of NSW and Access to Justice
A past systemic advocacy success story for DA was the establishment of a community legal centre in a region that had poor access to free legal assistance for people with a disability and other disadvantaged groups. Catherine Peek advocate and Deputy CEO undertook extensive research and consultations in the Mid North Coast community before lobbying decision makers to consider a community legal centre for this region. As a result the Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre was established in 2011. Community Legal Services on the Mid North Coast – Systemic Advocacy Project Summary
DANSW is the regional coordination agency for the Cooperative Legal Service Delivery project (CLSD) that ensures that key legal agencies and community groups work together to assist economically and socially disadvantaged groups such as people with a disability.
The Hunter CLSD network has organised Discrimination Workshops for Aboriginal Community Workers.
Borderline Personality Disorder Workshop for lawyers, mediators and support workers including volunteers and advocates.
Hunter CLSD has also run information sessions for applicants and defendants of Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) at Newcastle Local Court. These information sessions give an overview of the court procedure in APVO matters and about mediation to resolve the dispute.
To find out more about the CLSD Program and its initiatives go to: Legal Aid – Corporative legal services delivery CLSD program.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Our service believes the NDIS has great potential to improve the access of people with a disability to services and resources. Since the roll out of the scheme in the Hunter the DANSW advocates have provided significant media comment to TV and major newspapers to explain the significance and need for the NDIS as well as consistently reviewing the operation of the NDIS based on our coalface experience and providing independent feedback to the agency.
Below our main spokesperson on this issue advocate Bronwyne Chapman.