1. People receiving disability advocacy services

Between July 2012 and June 2016, in any given three month period, disability advocacy organisations reported providing services, on average, to 892 people, of whom:

  • 418 were classed as new service users
  • 474 had commenced with their service in a prior quarter.

Figure 1: Bar chart of People receiving disability advocacy services, quarterly, 2012-2016


There are no observable trends in this data. This is unsurprising, as DARU understands the target number of clients was unchanged over the reporting period. The target in the Victorian State Budget for disability advocacy is 1700 clients each year, translating to approximately 1 in 600 Victorians with disability. The target has remained unchanged for many years, despite significant population growth. As a result, we observe little change in the number of people provided with services.

Given the high proportion of “existing” clients receiving services, it is clear that a large proportion of people are receiving services for an extended period of time. Disability advocacy organisations advise that people are highly variable in their needs, and while some people present with an issue that can be resolved relatively quickly, many require support for an extended period of time, and require significant resources to assist.

Disability advocacy organisations report they do not have capacity to meet current demand from people needing assistance. Some organisations report lengthening waitlists, while other organisations report periodically closing intake of new clients due to lack of capacity.

The Victorian Government recently announced a $1.5 million investment through the Disability Advocacy Innovation Fund to support organisations to implement strategies to:

  • engage diverse and isolated people with a disability
  • address demand and gaps in service delivery
  • undertake systemic advocacy to reduce specific barriers to social, economic and civic participation
  • Strengthen mainstream consumer protections for people with a disability.

The Victorian Government has also stated “longer-term action and investment will ensure that Victoria has a strong and sustainable disability advocacy and self-advocacy sector into the future.”