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
  • Education
  • Employment
  • 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.

 

Self-Advocacy

Health and Hospital

 

Employment

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.

 

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:

http://dgha.org.au/dgha/access/

http://guidedogsaustralia.com/about-us/guide-dog-facts/

https://sed.visionaustralia.org/seeing-eye-dogs/rights-of-seeing-eye-dog-users

 

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.

 

Diagnosing Blindness

Resources will be made available shortly via the Vision 2020 website.

 

Australian Banknotes

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.