As a carer/family/whānau there may be times when you need additional support to advocate on behalf of yourself and/or your family member.
There are several organisations that provide specific advocacy services, these are:
The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) enforces the Health and Disability Consumers Code of Rights and provides an independent health and disability advocacy service. HDC Advocacy is available to ‘consumers’ who would like to make a complaint about a health or disability service they have received. This service is free, confidential and independent.
An advocate assists by listening to your complaint, giving you information about your rights and options for resolution, then supporting your option.
The Personal Advocacy Trust (PAT) is a nationwide organisation that offers:
- independent lifelong advocacy and
- fee-for-service independent advocacy for short term issues.
Lifelong advocacy is where a family enrolls their son or daughter in the Trust, and advocacy support commences after the parents have passed away. To secure future support delivery, this service is funded privately through the payment of an enrolment fee. The fee paid is dependent on the age of the individual at the time of enrolment. The lifelong model allows an advocate to support and work alongside a person and recognise and respond to any issues that may arise.
The Trust’s fee-for-service work is paid for on an hourly basis, and can be contracted by families, individuals or providers. Typically, this is focused on resolution of a specific issue, and is not ongoing.
People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disability. People First is part of an international movement fighting for the rights and inclusion of all people with learning disability.
IHC provides advocacy support for people with an intellectual disability in New Zealand. This includes supporting people with an intellectual disability to be self-advocates. Their advocacy toolkit provides lots of useful information for carers/families/whānau. This resource is useful even if your child does not have an intellectual disability.
Citizen’s Advocacy is an organisation based in Auckland that matches people with a long-term volunteer advocate. This is a free service but may have waitlists. They support people with an intellectual disability to advocate for themselves.
CCS Disability Action is a nationwide organisation that provides support and advocacy for people with a disability. At the heart of their vision is a society where all people are included in the life of their community and family. They work with people of all ages and stages across Aotearoa New Zealand.
The purpose of the Human Rights Commission is to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand. They facilitate resolution of disputes about discrimination.
Other useful organisations include:
Community Law provides legal advice, legal assistance and representation, legal information, legal education and law reform activities. The website has free legal information, factsheets, guides and contact details for local community law centers throughout New Zealand.
YouthLaw (Tino Rangatiratanga Taitamariki) is a community law center for children and young people nationwide. They provide free legal services to anyone aged under 25 who is unable to access legal help elsewhere, or those acting on their behalf.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provides information and advice and has services nationwide. Their website has some useful information on complaints and disputes.
The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) is an umbrella organisation representing people with disabilities. DPA provides information and advice.
The Inclusive Education Action Group support the rights of all to an inclusive education.