Southwest Advocacy Association (SWAA) is an independent, not-for-profit, community organisation that has provided individual and systemic advocacy for people with all types of disabilities throughout south west Victoria since 1993. SWAA's advocates are able to travel anywhere in the City of Warrnambool and Shires of Moyne, Glenelg, Southern Grampians and Corangamite to provide advocacy assistance to individuals with disabilities and their families.
SWAA is committed to the defence and promotion of the rights and interests of people with all types of disabilities & of all ages, including people with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and neurological disorders.
SWAA tries to help people with disabilities to speak up for what they want and need and to get a fair deal. Sometimes people just need information, sometimes people need help to get the services they need, and sometimes people need help to sort out problems and exercise their rights. SWAA's advocates can provide people with helpful information in a broad range of areas and, if we don't have the information you're looking for, we will try to find it for you or refer you onto another organisation that can help. We can also provide people with disabilities & their families with ongoing support to enable them to advocate for themselves and in some cases we can act as your representative, advocating under your instructions and on your behalf.
SWAA can provide information and advocacy assistance in relation to any issue. Some of the most common issues that we provide assistance with include -
In addition to providing information, referral and advocacy casework for individuals and families, SWAA also engages in systemic advocacy and community education and supports disability self help groups.
Systemic advocacy is action taken to influence or produce changes to systems or communities in an effort to ensure fair treatment, social justice and enhanced opportunities for people with disabilities. Changes are commonly sought in regard to such things as legislation; the policies and practices of Government or non-Government agencies; community attitudes; and access to premises, facilities and services. Systemic advocacy is a very important part of SWAA’s work, as systemic action has the potential to benefit large numbers of people with disabilities and lead to long-term change and community development.
SWAA's community education work is designed to raise awareness of the rights and needs of people with disabilities. Activities include information dissemination, media work, speaking to school groups, support groups and interested community groups; and participating in and delivering workshops and forums.
SWAA can also provide support to disability self help groups and can assist in the establishment of new self help and support groups.
More about Southwest Advocacy Association and its functions can be found under the following links.
Web Site by Gary Smart, www.smart-itc.com.au, Warrnambool.