Deaf Victoria provides advocacy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities in Victoria with funding received from the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Advocacy is about making a change or representing Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in various settings through supporting or standing alongside an individual who is in need and speaking out on their behalf. We act in response to the community’s needs and are concerned with basic rights, accessibility and needs to promote and defend Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s wellbeing and social justice.
There are two types of advocacy: Individual and Systemic. Deaf Victoria does both.
Focusing on one person’s rights and needs and advocating with and for them. Examples include workplace, legal and educational issues.
Focusing on the whole community’s rights and needs. Examples include the Hospital Review and Community Consultations on the NDIS.
What can Deaf Victoria do?
- Act as an advocate or support person for people and make complaints and advocate on the person’s behalf;
- Provide information about various services and advocacy support and make referrals where needed;
- Inform both the individual and community about their rights and responsibilities;
- Empower the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community to take action, wherever possible;
- Create links to broader community and service networks;
- Provide policy developments, reforms and planning for future services;
- Facilitate workshops that provide information to clients, service providers and the wider community;
- Collect and analyse information from Victorian Government and others to enhance quality of information for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Victorians;
- Maintain relationships with various groups to meet or promote the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
Deaf Victoria does not:
- Provide legal advice – but Deaf Victoria can refer you to the appropriate services;
- Take over a client’s case;
- Make decisions for the client’
- Promote helplessness or dependency;
- Provide counselling;
- Provide interpreters;
- Share client information without consent.
Examples of Systemic Advocacy
- Auslan Training at TAFES
- Auslan Video Relay Interpreting
- Emergency Services
- Review of Deaf Education
- Inquiry into Auslan Interpreting in Hospitals Project
Current Systemic Advocacy Cases
- Community consultation into the NDIS
Criteria to determine priority for service
If you have an issue you need some support with, Deaf Victoria will meet with you at a location of your choice to ensure that your privacy and confidentiality is protected. All support is provided free of charge.
Deaf Victoria endeavours not to have waiting lists for its services, however, priority will be given to cases where a client is at risk. We define “at risk” as a situation in which a person is in need of our advocacy services because they find themselves in circumstances where they are unable to advocate for themselves or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.
In assessing service requests, priority will be given to the following:
- The actual or potential seriousness of the problem the person or group is facing and the timeframe that it needs to be resolved;
- The lack of alternative assistance to resolve the problem; and
- The probability of successful outcome for the person in relation to: (a) our agency’s limited resources and (b) other high priority advocacy matters.
Highest priority will be given to advocacy requests where there is an urgent and serious risk of harm – including physical or psychological harm to the individual and exposure to a harmful situation, such as jail or homelessness.
Deaf Victoria will also take into account ethical issues, especially potential conflicts of interest.
If Deaf Victoria cannot assist you with your advocacy request, we will refer you to alternative services that may be able to assist.
All clients seeking advocacy services will need to undertake an intake process to determine our suitability to provide support. Please contact Sherrie Beaver at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.