About Us

Established in 1991, Advocacy WA is a regionally based community not for profit Western Australian agency that provides a range of advocacy services for people with disabilities living in the South West of Western Australia who find themselves in vulnerable or marginalised situations.

What does advocacy mean?

Advocacy means ‘standing by’ or ‘speaking out’ for someone’s rights when they are treated unfairly.

Advocacy WA believes that people with a disability have the same rights (and responsibilities) as people who do not have a disability.

We will advocate with and for people with a disability to safeguard (or protect) their capacity to speak out and ensure that their rights are negotiated in practice.

What does it cost?

It is a FREE service.

Who can get help?

Anyone with a disability can access this independent service. We take referrals from other agencies as well as self-referral.

Where does AWA cover?

If you live in the South West we can help. We are based out of our main office in Bunbury but we also have outreach offices in Collie, Manjimup, Margaret River and Busselton. We are able to schedule appointments in other South West locations if required.

What we stand for: Advocacy WA believes in justice and human rights for people with disabilities. We believe in the importance of choice, equality of opportunity, and inclusion in society. We believe that each person ought to be respected and heard and able to participate in their community. We believe in fairness and that each person should be empowered to exercise independence over the choices and direction of their life.

Our Mission: Advocacy WA assists and supports people with disabilities to achieve social and individual change, empowerment, justice and human rights.

Advocacy WA advocates for social change and service improvement focusing on, but not limited to, the areas of accommodation, employment and financial security, education and training, transport, and access to specialist health services, so that people with disabilities will be recognised and treated as valued citizens within their community.

Advocacy WA assists and supports people with disabilities to achieve social and individual change, empowerment, justice and human rights.

We believe that advocacy means “standing by” or “speaking out” for someone’s rights when they are treated unfairly and that people with disabilities have the same rights and responsibilities as people who do not. Advocacy WA advocates with and for people with a disability to safeguard (and protect) their capacity to speak out and ensure that those rights are negotiated in practice.

Advocacy WA’s model of Individual Advocacy works to empower and support people with disabilities to achieve positive outcomes and make informed decisions when faced with difficult situations. We do this by listening and consulting; sharing information; assisting access to agencies and services; encouraging self-advocacy through empowerment and generally working with the client. All this is done whilst maintaining client confidentiality. Each client is assigned an Individual Advocate (IA) who assists and supports the client until their issue has been resolved.

We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with many years’ experience working in disability sector and we employ highly trained professionals and volunteers to manage the agency and its operations. Many of these dedicated people are also people with disabilities.

AWA operates throughout the South West Region, including Harvey, Collie, Dardanup, Capel, Donnybrook, Balingup, Boyup Brook, Greenbushes, Bridgetown, Busselton, Margaret River, Nannup, Manjimup and has offices in Bunbury and Busselton.

The main office in Bunbury is open to the public Monday to Friday, with regular visits to Outreach offices in Collie, Manjimup, Margaret River and Busselton.

Advocacy WA is currently part-funded through the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) National Disability Advocacy Programme and the Department of Communities (WA). The agency has the ability to seek funding (grants, sponsorships and donations) from other public and philanthropic sources for discreet projects.

Advocacy WA works with other agencies such as People with Disabilities WA (PWdWA), Legal Aid, Sussex Street Legal Services, South West Legal Services, and Carers WA. We also use rooms at Forrest Personnel in Busselton and Margaret River as these rooms are very accessible for our clients.

Advocacy WA maintains a presence and provides opinion on a number of Committees that focus on issues relating to systemic advocacy, including the WA Disability Coalition, the Council of Regional Disability Organisations and through the Department of Communities, the WA Network of Disability Advocacy.

Advocacy WA invites new members. We are seeking to attract people with skills, energy and commitment to our core values. Fill in the form to become a member.

Our Board Members

Jethro Hepton
Ben Rose
Board member
Denise Clement
Board Member
Larissa Beeby
Board Member
Ryan Gay
Board Member
Rajinder Sunner
Board Member
Kimberley Robbins
Non-executive Board Member

Our Team

Stuart Schonell
Cyra Tanduyan
Social Media Marketing
Hellen Madzingira
Lead Advocate
Joanne Elliot
Finance Officer
Joan Sang
Individual Advocate
Jan Marshall
Administration Officer
Lorelei Giorgi
Reception Officer/Accountability
Margaret Fogarty
Intake Officer
Rhoda Murerwa
Individual Advocate