Who is Eligible
Anyone who identifies as having a disability and/or a mental health condition, and who lives in the South West Region of Western Australia is eligible.

When to Refer
It is best to begin the referral process while the issue is at the early stages, so that preventative action can be taken rather than having to deal with a crisis later on. For example, if a person is in trouble with their housing provider, it is better to contact us after the first strike, not the third. Also, you can have a conversation with an advocate about a concern you may have, even if you
don’t yet have evidence of what is occurring. An advocate is always happy to have a conversation with you about the options available and the best course of action and to advise whether a referral is appropriate or not.

What type of issues can Advocacy South West respond to?
Advocacy South West will accept referrals for people affected by the following types of issues:
a) Serious tenancy matters (such as where a person risks losing their tenancy because of their behaviour or another person’s behaviour towards them);
b) Financial, physical, emotional or sexual abuse of a person with a disability or mental health condition;
c) Neglect or exploitation of a person by another individual, family member or an organisation;
d) Financial difficulties and income support (including Centrelink payments);
e) Serious employment issues (such as where a person risks losing their employment because of their behaviour or the employer’s behaviour towards them);
f) Barriers to accessing needed services and supports, or difficulties with those services (such an issue that may lead to a complaint being made to the service provider);
g) Issues of power imbalance, for example, a parent/child conflict that results in the child’s rights and needs being overlooked, to the detriment of the emotional or physical wellbeing of the child;
h) Problems in the education context that are resulting in poor quality educational outcomes for a student;
i) Legal problems and disputes (where a person requires support to engage with a lawyer or a legal process);
j) People who are at serious risk of any of the above issues occurring in the near future.
k) Other issues not listed above will be considered.

What to expect from an Advocate
The role of an advocate is to promote the best interests of the client at all times. The advocate seeks to ensure that ‘due process’ is followed, and that the person understands to the best of their ability what is happening to them. It is not the role of the advocate to try and force a particular outcome, or to create a dependency on themselves to always be the one solving problems. The advocate will spend time getting to know and understand the client and their circumstances, and then inform the client of their options. As much as possible, the client will be encouraged to take action to address their own issues, with the advocate there to support and guide. The advocate will stand alongside the client through the process until there is a clear outcome or until the advocate can reasonably take no further action.
An advocate will also try to link the client with other sources of support that will last beyond our involvement, both formal and informal, such as other services or family members and trusted community members. That way the client can develop a more robust network of safeguards.

How to refer
Complete the Referral Form (below)