DANA hopes to amplify the voices of on-the-ground advocates to ensure their insights and expertise inform the work of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Disability Royal Commission or DRC).
Independent disability advocacy
The DANA submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Royal Commission or DRC) about independent disability advocacy is informed by the collective knowledge and experience of member organisations. In addition to exploring the context, key barriers and challenges for the disability advocacy sector, this submission outlines our recommendations to support achieving positive outcomes for people with disability throughout Australia. In particular, the recommendations seek to eliminate their risks of experiencing violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation.
2020 Surveys – assessing the impact of COVID-19 and examining future preparedness and disaster resilience
DANA Snapshot of COVID-19 Advocacy Demand
This is a report on a brief snapshot taken of demand for disability advocacy services during the period of COVID-19 risk. The survey of advocacy organisations was conducted in late April to early May, and received responses from 35 organisations in total, almost all of which are members of DANA. The results of this snapshot survey drew attention to some worrying emerging issues. In some key areas demand has increased significantly and many organisations have not been able to meet this increased demand, in-part due to the sector already being at or over capacity.
Lessons for Disaster Preparedness – Report on the impact of COVID-19 disaster management for people with disability and the advocacy sector, with preliminary advice for future disaster management.
In November 2020, DANA conducted a survey of disability advocacy organisations across the country. This report provides an analysis of the findings, (including an examination of urgent access issues and the critical role of advocacy) and also outlines priorities for future disaster planning and the need for planning to be inclusive of people with disability and their advocates.
DANA and DRC Workshops – Transcripts
Between October 2020 and March 2021, Disability Advocacy Network of Australia (DANA) collaborated with the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) Community Engagement team, to hold a series of virtual State/Territory focused workshops (one or two in every jurisdiction) on the topics of Restrictive Practices and Segregated Settings, with staff of the DRC in attendance. Identifying details have been removed from the edited transcripts. Participants were informed that sessions would be recorded to capture their insights and observations.
DANA then worked with the Engagement team to co-design this ‘Solutions Focused Workshops’, bringing together advocates from all states and territories to draw out their ideas and recommendations for seeing positive change at a national, state and local level.
“Advocates Zoom In On…” online discussion series
Between late October and early December 2020, Disability Advocacy Network Australia ran this series of weekly hour-long discussions via Zoom – creating an opportunity for interested advocates to take a closer look at and speak about a number of key topics emerging in the DRC and its examination of abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. Participants were encouraged to share their insights, observations, stories and case studies, and the discussion questions each week included opportunities to share perspectives on what recommendations advocates would like to see being made by the DRC, in relation to the topic in focus. Identifying details have been removed in these edited transcripts.
Rights, Safety, Quality – Voices of Advocacy
Listening to advocates speak and give examples during the online discussions outlined above underscored how knowledgeable disability advocates are about the experiences of people with disability interacting with complex and flawed systems of service delivery and reporting and complaints mechanisms. This document collates the de-identified direct quotes of advocates under themes relevant to the expansive topic of “safeguards and quality services”. Its structure is influenced by the phrasing of questions and topics identified in the DRC Issues paper on ‘Safeguards and quality’, published in November 2020. This lengthy document reflects just a fraction of the insights and experiences of advocates and independent advocacy organisations in their work upholding the rights of many individuals with disability around Australia.
From June to October 2022, DANA ran the “Advocates Discuss” series of fortnightly hour-long discussions via Microsoft Teams – creating an opportunity for interested advocates to take a closer look at and speak about a number of key topics emerging in the DRC and its examination of abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. Again, participants were encouraged to share their insights, observations, stories and case studies, and the discussion questions each week included opportunities to share perspectives on what recommendations advocates would like to see being made by the DRC, in relation to the topic in focus. Identifying details have been removed in these edited transcripts.