We are looking for an Advocate for our office in Redfern.

The Advocate role provides advocacy support to individuals or groups of individuals with disability, and their associates, to promote and protect their human, legal and service user rights in accordance with the National Disability Service Standards. PWDA’s Individual and Group Advocacy Service provides short-term, issue-based individual and group advocacy assistance for people with disability and their associates in NSW and nationally. It provides information, advice and referral services and intensive individual advocacy assistance.

The position description can be accessed here or below.

If you require any other accessible version of this document please contact us.

Today’s release of new mental health guidelines by the NSW Government show the importance of a systemic approach to preventing violence and abuse of people with disability.
“People with disability have a right to be free of violence in all our institutions, including when they are seeking the medical care they need in hospitals,” said Ms Therese Sands, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia.
“Getting medical treatment should never involve the terrible conditions we’ve seen in many mental health facilities across NSW, where people with disability are abused, put into isolation and restrained.”
The new NSW Health plan follows from the recommendations of a 2017 review into the use of restrictive practices in many mental health facilities in NSW, after the death of Miriam Merten. The review acknowledged that for many people with disability, mental health facilities are often places where they have experienced restraint and isolation. It calls for systemic change, including the involvement of people with disability as experts and peer workers.
“People with disability need to be at the heart of developing systems that will prevent violence and abuse. This new NSW plan is a good first step, and must be used in collaboration with the framework offered by the Optional Protocol to the Torture Convention to prevent torture and ill-treatment in places of detention,” said Ms Sands.
The Australian Government ratified OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in December 2017.
“New peer reviewed research, that we have been part of, recently published in the latest Australian Journal of Human Rights, looks at whether OPCAT could give us the tools we need to stop the appalling rates of violence against people with disability,” said Ms Sands.
One of the requirements of the Optional Protocol involves the creation of a ‘National Preventive Mechanism’ (NPM), which will be overseen by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. This creates a further layer of oversight by performing regular monitoring visits to assess risks of torture and ill-treatment in places of detention (such as mental health facilities).
“It will be important to make sure that people with disability are involved in how this National Preventive Mechanism is set up so that all the different places where people with disability can experience this abuse are included,” said Ms Sands.
“We are subject to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at rates far higher than people without disability. This research shows that the preventive mechanism required by OPCAT cannot ignore people with disability or mark them off as a ‘special’ or ‘separate’ matter. This is something that the Federal Government needs to urgently act on, so that State and Territory Governments can include OPCAT in their plans to prevent abuse and violence against people with disability. Alongside our colleagues at Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, we have prepared a position paper that outlines these requirements.”
According to one of the contributing authors, Dr Piers Gooding at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne, “There is a risk that the National Preventive Mechanism will fail to focus on the places where many people with disability experience ill-treatment, like hospitals and residential facilities.
“This new plan from the NSW Government needs to be looked at in context with the planned implementation of OPCAT, and how the preventive mechanism being set up will contribute to preventing abuse of people with disability.”
PWDA partnered with academics and advocates from across Australia to write the research paper, including the University of Sydney, Monash University, RMIT University, the University of Technology Sydney, the Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and the University of Melbourne. The report was supported by a grant from the Sydney Social Justice Network.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to its share of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) so that people with disability have the services and supports they need and deserve. A woman with short brown hair and black glasses stands wearing a black coloured jacket in front of a television screen mounted on a wall, she is smiling. The television screen reads "2018 Budget Lockup - Tuesday 08 May 2018 Federation Ballroom 12:00-19:00. There is a photo of a building above the writing on the screen

“We hope that this now ends the uncertainty for people with disability, the ongoing political debate and the cuts to social security and services as trade-offs for NDIS funding,” said Therese Sands, Co-CEO of PWDA.

“Looking to the future, the Government now needs to hold firm to this commitment. We will continue to keep a close watch to ensure any change in economic performance does not lead to this promise being eroded.”

“We will be holding all sides of government to account for the clear statement in the Budget papers that the NDIS is fully funded, now and into the future.”

“People with disability want to be able to get on with having an ordinary life, just like everyone else. We want to live in the community, be at work and go to the footy.”

“A good government makes sure that people with disability have the same right to access public services as everyone else. Secure funding for the NDIS is a key way that the government has said they will do this.”

“Although we need to see the detail, we welcome the $92 million over five years that will assist people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS to continue to receive support under Commonwealth programs.”

This budget also continues the staffing cap at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). People with disability are frustrated and concerned that money is spent on outsourcing work to for-profit consultants and businesses, instead of resourcing the Agency to deliver an NDIS that provides genuine choice and control."

This Budget includes $9.9 million for Disability Employment Service (DES) providers to transition to the new reformed DES system. This is only an interim measure over two years, and won’t address concerns that the DES system has largely not succeeded in supporting people with disability to gain and maintain employment. This measure also doesn’t provide the supports people with disability will need to make informed choices about DES providers in the reformed system.

“Often people with disability are locked out of paid work which entrenches structural inequality. We want the government to develop and implement a National Employment Strategy or Jobs Plan for people with disability.”

PWDAustralia RT @MIW_CRPD: 🔴At #COSP11, Evelyn from @FPDNAus delivers a powerful statement claiming the rights of Aboriginal women with disabilities to…
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Support, advocacy and training for people with disability who may be affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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