- To speak, write and act for people with a disability in a way that promotes justice and equity in their lives.
- To support advocacy development efforts that educate community groups about individual advocacy, the vulnerability of people with disability and the need for advocacy.
- To enhance the status of people with disability in the community by helping to build a positive image of people with a disability.
- To network with individuals and organizations who support advocacy against unfair and unjust things happening in the lives of people with disability.
- To be an effective, efficient, flexible and accountable service that evolves, works out of and reflects advocacy principles and practices.
Other Relevant Issues
Each person with a disability seeking a service has access to the service on the basis of relative need and within available resources.
We aim to ensure that individual needs and personal goals are met in the least restrictive way possible and within available resources. Clients are encouraged to participate as fully as possible in decision-making, choice of activities and events in daily life in relation to the services received.
- We provide information to people with disabilities to enable them to obtain their rights;
- Work with all people with a disability, regardless of race, colour, culture, age, gender or creed;
- Support and encourage people with disabilities to advocate for their own rights;
- Provide rights information to workers in other organisations that provide a service to people with disability;
- Provide a community education programme to any group seeking information on Advocacy.
Where do we work?
Case Study ‘K’
‘K’ currently resides in Bailee Henderson Hospital (BHH) on a forensic order. ‘K’ has a history of psychosis which has been compounded by the use of alcohol and other drugs. ‘K’ has not had any external visitors, such as friends or family in many years. Through discussions with Advocates around what might improve his current experience of being confined, ‘K’ identified increasing his social connections as an improvement and asked Advocates to assist him in re-establishing contact with a sibling serving a corrections sentence elsewhere in Queensland.
TASC interventions and support
TASC Advocates made contact with the corrections facility where ‘K’ believed his brother currently resides. Through liaising with the counsellors at the facility, and providing evidence of TASC’s authority to act on K’s behalf, confirmation was received by corrections of the location of K’s brother. Due to the financial barriers counsellors identified K’s brother would be unable to call him, however through TASC Advocates liaising with K’s case manager at BHH a solution was found whereby the call would be made by ‘K’ at the time agreed to by Corrections.
K’s Case Manager also provided support to assist ‘K’ to be informed by providing ‘K’ with a copy of Correction’s timeframe for phone calls. Although times must first be arranged in advance with the corrections facility, ‘K’ stated he had placed the times on the wall of his room which perhaps indicates a level of control in being informed of call-time options which can be negotiated with BHH and corrections staff.
The first phone call between ‘K’ and his brother was scheduled for mid-February, 2015. Advocates will follow-up with ‘K’) how this phone call went, and whether ‘K’ intends to maintain contact and, if so, what resources or supports may need to be provided to overcome any potential barriers to sustained communication.
This outcome would not have been possible without the collaborative effort between staff from Queensland Corrective Services, Queensland Health, and TASC. TASC’s role being to support ‘K’ in identifying his rights and wishes, and initiating the process for these to be upheld through facilitating communication between ‘service silos’.
Under the Queensland government’s direction, a number of BHH patients are being transferred back to their communities of origin. Historically, patients have been removed from communities across Queensland to BHH, one of the last psychiatric hospitals in Queensland, to receive treatment. ‘K’ has expressed his desire to return to his community. TASC advocates will continue to assist ‘K’ with this issue.
Following the arrangement of the above phone call with his brother, ‘K’ also expressed interest in reconnecting with other family members including another sibling. ‘K’ identified the benefit of this as two fold. ‘K’ noting the emotional benefits for himself, but also the possibility of the treating team observing these supports as indicative of ‘K’ being ready for additional community leave (LCTs). This indicates ‘K’s desire to continue progressing toward additional leave and possibility of integrating back into his preferred community in the future.
How Did The Client Learn About TASC?
Our client self-referred to TASC.
The client’s initial consultation with TASC was in August 2014. He sought advice in relation to experiencing years of abuse as an adult and a youth in several Corrective Service institutions. The client presented with signs of emotional trauma resulting from the mistreatment he had experienced, particularly as a youth. It it took several meetings to sensitively gather the information that would assist the Advocate to take the steps to seek restitution on behalf of the client.
Working with the client revealed other issues that effected the client’s ability to recall information and that were having a detrimental effect on his quality of life. The client had been diagnosed with alcoholic dementia after years of alcohol and drug abuse which presented communication challenges particularly in terms of retaining and recording factual information relating to the experience under incarceration. The client expressed anti-social tendencies towards authority which had caused barriers to secure meaningful employment, sustain relationships with family and friends and resulted in a transient lifestyle.
As the relationship between the advocate and client grew in trust, the client advised that he would like assistance in regards to seeking clinical and social service support once the initial matter was in process. Managing the expectations of the client in regards to seeking restitution has also involved collaborating with other members of the TASC team including Legal and particularly the Social Support Services team to assist with improving the communication and level of understanding for both the client and the Advocate.
Actions Taken (Advocacy & Legal):
- Several meetings with the client to record names, dates, persons involved etc from the Corrective Institutions and fleshing out other issues the client is experiencing
- Securing the clients criminal activity records from Queensland Police (the DLP solicitor assisted with this process)
- With assistance from the client – submitting two Right to Information and Information Privacy Access Applications (Youth Justice and Corrective Services) requesting all records and information of the clients time in several institutions.
- Researching counselling supports for client particularly in regards to trauma and child-abuse. The Bravehearts organisation has been identified as being a suitable service – the client has agreed to a referral.
- Referral to TOMNET – mens group to provide a social outlet for the client.
- Seek legal advice in regards to referral if needed for compensation claim wanting to be undertaken by the client.
Outcomes for the Client Due To DA Assistance:
- Client for the first time in his life has felt heard and validated for his experience. A level of acceptance has been voiced by the client; the first first trusting and safe relationship he has had with someone he sees as ‘authoritative ’.
- Application for RTI records in process – this will enable further investigation and potential process into seeking restitution for the client.
- Linking with social and clinical supports – endeavour to improve the clients physical, mental, emotional and social well-being
Learning Outcomes for Improving Service Delivery and Practice:
- Increasing conscientiousness and skills when working with a client who has experienced extensive trauma particularly in relation to memory recall and loss. Understanding that several meetings will be needed to retract vital factual information to proceed with case. Applying different communication techniques that suit the individual client.
- Collaboration with other TASC services – in a privileged environment to be able to utilise extensive legal knowledge and also other advocate and social support colleagues.