Systemic Advocacy

As a self advocate matures and grows in knowledge they often move into the role of systemic advocate.  It is often the case that individual issues can take on a larger perspective. One person’s problem with a system can be representative of a systemic difficulty. This is when the systemic advocate goes to work.

Systemic advocacy is - working to change attitudes, policies, systems or laws that impact negatively on the lives of individuals across the system.

Through advocacy, opportunities for participation and involvement in the community are promoted. Where appropriate, the Disability Achievement Center takes action to introduce, influence or produce positive systemic change in the community.

Disability systemic advocacy seeks to:

  • Influence long term changes to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are attained and upheld to positively affect the quality of their lives. This also means Fostering strategic alliances across the ector and governments to develop capacity to identify and respond to the needs of people with disabilities.
  • Tailored to meet the individual needs of people with disabilities including a focus on geographic and demographic factors.
  • Working to influence positive systemic changes in legislation, policy and service towards promoting community awareness and education of disability issues.  As well as ensuring that the views represented meet the individual needs, preferences and goals of people with disabilities.
  • Strengthen the capacity of people with disabilities to speak for themselves by actively supporting and encouraging self-advocacy.  Ensures the rights of people with disabilities to privacy, dignity and confidentiality are recognized and upheld.
  • Be informed by an evidence base and should be provided in an accountable and transparent manner;
  • Be planned and delivered in a coordinated manner and support communication between disability advocacy support, specialist disability services, mainstream services and governments;
  • Promote community education and awareness of advocacy and disability issues; Systemic advocacy that positively contributes to legislation, policy and practice that will support the agreed outcomes.

Approaches to systemic advocacy can vary from abolition to reform. Abolition is when you try to stop an unpopular policy. Reform is where you seek incremental improvements. Abolition is likely to be more confrontational (and publicly critical of the existing ideology), whereas reform is usually viewed as more collaborative and/or practical.

Disability systemic advocacy can be directed at a number of objectives.  Government, businesses, groups of people or individuals.  This can vary from conflict to engagement. "adversarial Advocacy" is often associated with ardent abolition or protest movements which document the failures of government or policy makers, and criticize them, to effect change. "programmatic engagement" is more commonly undertaken by organisations like Disability Achievement Center that work with government to deliver services. It involves constructive discussion of policies to effect internal reform and incremental changes within existing systems.