About Citizen Advocacy – Perth West
Citizen Advocacy Perth West is a not for profit organisation which aims to promote, facilitate and support advocacy for people with disabilities.
The Citizen Advocacy Perth West office seeks out people with intellectual disability living in hostels, group homes or in the community, who have no actively involved family and are therefore particularly at risk. We then carefully match them, one-to-one, with a principled, caring citizen, who freely commits to a long-term relationship, in which they undertake to act as friend and spokesperson or “advocate” for the person with the disability, (who we call the “protégé” – from the French word meaning to protect.)
The two people are matched as closely as possible in terms of gender, age, location and interests. To ensure a mutually beneficial and rewarding long term relationship, the resources, ability and time availability of the advocate are matched with the circumstances of the person with disability. Advocates are given training, ongoing support and access to various resources by the Citizen Advocacy office to help them in their roles.
Each Citizen Advocacy relationship is unique. The advocate may for example offer their protégé friendship, the experience of family, new opportunities, spokesmanship or protection from abuse.
Who are we?
Ordinary men and women of all ages, from all walks of life.
- People who believe in the right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect.
- People who can see beyond someone’s disability and value the individual for who they are.
- People who do not look for material rewards for helping someone in need.
- People with high expectations of what people with intellectual disability can achieve with the right support and encouragement.
- People who are genuine about making a long-term commitment to a person with intellectual disability to help them with some of their needs.
- People who believe that integration, not segregation, of people with disabilities is beneficial to all members of society.
- The kind of people who can put themselves in the shoes of their protégé and ask themselves: “If that was me, how would I feel? What would I want?” and work towards that vision.
No particular skills are necessary, and often not much time is involved, just the desire and commitment to make a positive difference to the life of a person who is isolated or at risk.