DANA conducted a ‘snapshot survey’ of disability advocacy organisations in April 2020, in order to gain a quick understanding of the shifting demands for advocacy services during the COVID-19 shutdown period. The survey received responses from 35 advocacy organisations. The results indicate that:
- Demand for advocacy services has increased significantly and in a short period of time.
- Overall, capacity has not increased. In fact, for some, capacity has decreased.
- Demand is particularly increasing in the following areas:
- Accessing existing support services in new ways;
- Accessing new support services;
- Specific advice around the law and shutdowns;
- As a result of isolation from informal and unfunded support (family, friends, community)
- The additional time it takes to provide suitable advocacy services that are not face-to-face.
These findings also confirm the critical importance of advocacy for people with disability and their carers. Many of the detailed comments provide strong evidence of how close many have been to being disconnected from essential income and support, especially during this period.
The findings from this survey are also consistent with the findings from other reports into the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability, for example the most recent report produced by People With Disability Australia (2020), People with Disability and COVID-19.
Read the full report authored by researcher Polly Bennett:
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