What is Advocacy?
Disability advocacy is acting, speaking or writing to promote, protect and defend the human rights of people with disability.
This can be in the form of:
- Self-advocacy, where an individual speaks for themselves in promoting change
- Individual advocacy, where a person is supported to address or prevent unfair treatment or discrimination
- Peer advocacy, where two or more people who have had similar experiences work together to resolve an issue
- Systemic advocacy, where further action is taken, legislation or policy is developed to promote the rights and interests of a group of people
- Legal advocacy, where legal representation is provided through the justice system. This could also be through the disability discrimination or human rights systems.
To assist people with their self-advocacy, Blind Citizens Australia has produced What is Advocacy – How do I advocate for myself?, a brochure, in Word format, available for download.
What Advocacy can Blind Citizens Australia provide?
If you or someone you know has faced discrimination due to blindness or vision impairment, we may be able to help. Our Advocacy staff can provide specialist information and advice on a wide range of issues, including:
- Access to information
- Access to premises and the built environment
- Public transport
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
- My Aged Care
- Blindness related income supports, such as the Disability Support Pension (blind) and Aged Care Pension (blind).
Wherever possible, we will aim to provide you with the necessary advice, tools and strategies to allow you to resolve a problem on your own. If you do require a bit of extra help though, we may be able to provide you with additional support or representation.
If we are not able to support you, we will provide a referral to another organisation.
Our advocacy services are provided nationally over the phone or via email.
Advocates may attend meetings and face-to-face conciliations on a case by case basis depending on availability and resources. If this duty cannot be fulfilled, Advocates reserve the right to refer the individual as necessary.
Useful Fact Sheets
We have developed some fact sheets that you might find useful in creating awareness of the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired in specific situations. Please check back to this page from time to time as we will add more and update existing fact sheets as they are developed.
These resources can be used to develop your own letter or conversation as part of your self-advocacy. They can also be used to provide further information and awareness to community or government about your rights as a person who is blind or vision impaired.
- Quick Guide to the Disability Discrimination Act (Word doc)
- Disability Discrimination Act Fact Sheet (Word doc)
- Quick Guide to the National Disability Strategy (NDS) (Word doc)
- Quick Guide to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Word doc)
- What to Consider When Starting a Campaign (Word doc)
Health and Hospital
- Consumer Hospital Fact Sheet (Word doc)
- Fact Sheet for Hospital Staff (Word doc)
- Fact Sheet for Guiding a patient who is blind or vision impaired (Word doc)
This series of fact sheets challenge assumptions about what people who are blind or vision impaired are capable of in employment settings, bust myths, provide guidance on legal blindness and how people who are blind access information and where you can get more information.
- Have you checked your assumptions? (Word doc)
- Busting those myths (Word doc)
- What does the term legal blindness mean? (Word doc)
- Reading information as a person who is blind (Word doc)
- What Australian and international law say about disability – the law and guidelines (Word doc)
- Useful links (Word doc)
Dog Guide Access
Under the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Guide and Seeing Eye Dogs are covered by the term ‘assistance animals’.
While the Disability Discrimination Act includes a section on exemptions to access for assistance animals (Section 54A), it does not explicitly state the types of establishments where assistance animals are not permitted. However, due to precedents that have been established through case law it is generally accepted that dog guides are not permitted in operating theatres, hospital burns units, commercial kitchens and some zoos.
Further information on dog guide access and relevant legislation can be accessed here:
For many years now BCA has been advocating for accessible voting for Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
Information was made available on how to use the accessible voting process. Here is a copy of that Accessible voting information sheet (Word docx).
Open letter to DVD retailers and suppliers about Audio Description on DVD
Blind Citizens Australia has created an open letter to raise awareness to the general community and DVD suppliers and stores regarding the benefits of Audio Description on DVD. This is available for anyone to download (Word doc) and use.
Resources will be made available shortly via the Vision 2020 website.
Australian banknotes can be identified by sight and by touch. Download this document to learn more. This document also contains information about BCA’s Cash Test Card, which you can obtain by contacting us.