Your Story Disability Legal Support update—Issue 24, July 2023
In this issue ...
A message from Your Story senior lawyer Rania Saab
During July we have marked Disability Pride Month.
The Disability Pride movement is all about changing the narrative so that people with disability are not simply accommodated and tolerated but respected and valued in our community
I am proud to be part of the Disability Pride movement. As a person with a disability, I have always felt compelled to highlight and remove barriers whenever and wherever they arise, whether it be in my personal or professional life. That sense of responsibility has deepened since two of my three children were diagnosed with a disability.
For too long, people with disability have been treated badly and denied access to services, education and entertainment because of our disability. We have been told that we do not belong and have been sent away to live on the fringes of society. We have been “othered” and denied our basic human rights.
For the first time in Australian history, the Royal Commission into the Abuse, Neglect, Violence and Exploitation of People with Disability has provided a national platform for people with disability, their families, carers and supporters to voice the injustices that people with disability have faced and continue to face. This is a critical first step in bringing about much needed change so that we can live our lives the way we choose to without barriers constantly smacking us in the face.
It takes a lot of vulnerability and courage to share our stories. In sharing them, and in listening to others as they share their stories, we gain the confidence to continue to advocate for change so that we get the value, recognition and respect that we deserve. While we wait for the Disability Royal Commission to hand down its report and recommendations for change, it is important to remember that the cultural change in how society views us has already started as a result of us sharing our stories.
To all the readers who have a disability – keep speaking your truth and hold your head high. Your story matters. YOU matter.
To all the readers who have joined us on this journey as our allies – thank you for listening to us, including us, supporting us and walking with us.
Together, we can and will make a difference.
Yours in solidarity,
Your Story celebrates NAIDOC week
Your Story is privileged to assist First Nations clients and community members, and to work as part of a partnership with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.
Your Story staff joined their local communities in celebrating NAIDOC week at a range of events across Australia.
Jack Anderson and Silva Osaki from Your Story NSW were lucky enough to go to a smoking ceremony for NAIDOC Week which was organised by the Intellectual Disabilities Rights Service. This event was held on Gadigal country in Belmore Park.
Deafblind community has its say on changes to disability legislation in WA
Your Story WA lawyers Amilee Myson and Demi Thackrah worked with the Deafblind community in WA to help its members have their say on reforms to the Disability Services Act in that state.
Deafblind West Australians, SensesWA and Your Story held a public consultation to get feedback from community members to give to the Department of Communities in WA.
We thank people for coming along to the event and sharing their valuable insights. We hope to keep working in partnership with the Deafblind community on these important reforms.
Working together to support multicultural communities in Victoria and Tasmania
Tasmanian Your Story lawyer Jane Green has been working with organisations in that state to try to improve access to support for people with disability from multicultural communities.
Jane has been working with the Migrant Resource Centre to provide information about our service and what we can support people with. Jane has also been working with the Tasmanian Transcultural Mental Health Network, providing legal support to people in its communities.
Our Victorian Your Story lawyer Michelle Bowler recently went to the Multicultural Disability Inclusion Expo in Melbourne. The expo was well attended by local community members, service providers, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
As well as providing people with information about Your Story, Michelle enjoyed the opportunity to learn from a range of people about their lived experience, as well as about their stories of resilience and the challenges they can experience in getting support.
Australian Network on Disability Conference
Your Story team members have attended the annual conference of the Australian Network on Disability.
The conference shared learnings about the importance of employing people with disability and how to create inclusive and accessible services.
It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with leaders across the disability community.
People share their experiences in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and their ideas for change
Following the Commonwealth Government’s announcement that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal would be abolished, the Attorney-General’s Department sought feedback from users about the design of a new federal administrative review body.
With the support of the Disability Advocacy Network of Australia and People with Disability Australia, Your Story hosted a focus group called ‘Have you had an NDIS matter before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)?’.
The focus group was hosted by Your Story senior lawyer, Rania Saab, with valuable contributions from everyone who took part.
Through this process, we hoped to give people who have been through the tribunal the opportunity to directly share their feedback and ideas with the Government.
Your Story acknowledges the generosity of persons with lived experience who invested their time and emotional energy into this review and consultation process.
Your Story submission to the Senate inquiry into ADHD
Your Story and Legal Aid NSW made a submission to the Senate inquiry into ‘Barriers to consistent, timely and best practice assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and support services for people with ADHD’.
The submission was led by Your Story NSW lawyer Danny Philippa and was well informed by staff with both personal and professional experience with ADHD.
The Senate inquiry is due to report its findings by 27 September 2023. Your Story looks forward to the outcome of the inquiry and hopes that better pathways and processes are put in place to support improved experiences for persons with ADHD and their families.
You can find our submission to the Senate inquiry into ADHD here.
Your Story makes connections at the Sydney Disability Connections Expo
Your Story NSW went to the Sydney Disability Connections Expo in June.
To offer a full range of support to people at the expo, we shared a stall with Legal Aid NSW teams that focus on issues relating to the NDIS, social security, respect at work, and community legal education.
It was great to connect with everyone at the expo. Many people visited our stall to chat and to get connected with legal support across a range of issues.
Your Story provides over 15,000 services to people with disability and their supporters
Since starting in 2019, Your Story has provided over 15,000 legal and social support services to people with disability and their supporters.
We’ve also received over 11,000 enquiries - via phone, webchat, email and online - from people seeking support to take part in the Disability Royal Commission or to address other legal problems they may be experiencing.
Your Story has been busy providing accessible legal information and education in partnership with the disability community, as well as supporting people with disability in group homes, mental health facilities, immigration detention, youth detention and prison.
New webinar on Your Story YouTube channel – Disability Royal Commission: What’s Next?
Don't worry if you missed our most recent webinar - Disability Royal Commission: What’s Next? - because it is now on our You Tube channel.
The webinar features guest speaker Dominic Golding, a Your Story Advisory Group member and National Ethnic Disability Alliance Policy and Project Officer. Dominic was joined by speakers from legal, counselling and advocacy services that support people taking part in the Royal Commission.
In this webinar, the panel discussed what they learnt from those who shared their stories, what supports are available, how the inquiry might achieve better outcomes for First Nations communities, and what they hope to see in the final report.
You can access the new webinar here.
A big thank you to disability advocates across Australia
Your Story Disability Legal Support would like to thank all the amazing advocates across Australia who have supported people to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission. We have enjoyed and valued working with you.
Disability advocates are critical to promoting and protecting the rights of people with disability by helping to remove barriers and to ensure we can all fully and equally participate in the community.
For those advocates moving on to new roles as the Disability Royal Commission comes to an end, thank you for your efforts, dedication and collaboration.
If you need advocacy support, you can find an advocate on the Ask Izzy advocacy finder.
In August we are attending the NSW events outlined below.
A workshop for the Vietnamese community in western Sydney
On 22 August 2023, we are part of a workshop for the Vietnamese community in western Sydney. The workshop is called ‘My Rights and Accessing Services’. It is being run by Your Story, Fairfield City Council and the NDIS service at Legal Aid NSW.
This event will be at the Whitlam Library in Cabramatta from 10am to 12pm, and a Vietnamese interpreter will be present. You can find more information about the workshop here.
Northern Sydney Multicultural Disability Expo
On 30 August 2023, Your Story will be at the Northern Sydney Multicultural Disability Expo. The theme of the Expo is ‘Towards Inclusion’. You can find more information about the Expo here.
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