Because we all need justice, acceptance, love, security, and control over the course of our lives and from time to time we may even need practical support and representation. Unfortunately, for many people with an intellectual disability these basic human needs are just not met. People with an intellectual disability are often rejected and isolated from society and have few opportunities to experience an everyday life like you do.
They may receive unsuitable or poorer quality services or may be denied services entirely. Many people with intellectual disability are particularly vulnerable to unfair treatment and exploitation. The disadvantage and vulnerability of people with intellectual disability creates a need to have:
Citizen Advocacy is a community based program which aims to recognise, promote and defend the rights and interests of people with an intellectual disability.
It does this by finding and supporting caring, responsible everyday citizens who are prepared to act voluntarily to make a positive difference in the life of a person with an intellectual disability (protégé), who may be lonely, face difficult challenges, or be in a risky situation.
The Citizen Advocacy office carefully matches proteges and citizen advocates ensuring that there is a good match between the needs and interests of the protege and the abilities, resources and commitment of the citizen advocate.
Citizen Advocacy has no sectarian or political affiliations and is motivated only by the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of some of our community’s
Citizen advocates come from all walks of life, are of all ages, and each brings with them a very individual range of life experiences and expertise.
Most citizen advocates have had no significant involvement with people with a disability before becoming an advocate and many have found that their long-term commitment to a person with a disability can be a powerful force in that persons life.
Since many people with an intellectual disability are isolated, alone and hidden, it is important for Citizen Advocacy programs to actively seek out these individuals. Citizen Advocacy staff look for people in need for protection and representation according to guidelines that have been established by the program. They meet the person with an intellectual disability to discover their needs and interests and then seek out a suitable potential citizen advocate who is given extensive orientation in the principles and policies of Citizen Advocacy.
Only when the citizen agrees to take the responsibility of representing the best interests of the protege is the match recognized.
After the initial contact, we assist proteges by finding and supporting caring, responsible everyday citizens who are prepared to act voluntarily to make a positive difference in the life of a person with an intellectual disability (protege), who may be lonely, face difficult challenges, or be in a risky situation.