National Disability Advocacy Program
The Department of Social Services (the department) funds the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) to provide people with disability access to effective advocacy support. This support works to promote and protect the rights of people with disability by helping to remove barriers to their full and equal participation in the community.
NDAP is for people with disability who are facing complex challenges. The program provides support in situations where people with disability feel unable to act, speak or write about a difficult situation on their own, or do not have the support required to resolve an issue.
How a disability advocate can help
An advocate can provide information, help an individual explore their options and work through issues, and make informed decisions. Through NDAP, an advocate can assist individuals to:
- Understand and exercise their rights
- Self-advocate, wherever possible
- Identify and address situations of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation
- Make a complaint
- Understand and/or access the NDIS, Centrelink and other government services
- Find and use community services, including legal services
- Request extra support (such as reasonable adjustments) at school or work.
Some NDAP organisations with specialised expertise and/or lived experience deliver tailored support for specific needs and/or backgrounds, including:
- People with a specific type of disability (for example intellectual disability)
- People seeking help for a specific issue (for example housing, education or employment)
- People from a culturally and linguistically diverse background
- People who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
The department also funds the NDIS Appeals Program to provide advocacy support for individuals affected by reviewable decisions of the National Disability Insurance Agency. More information on the NDIS Appeals Program is available at: NDIS Appeals Program | Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au).
How to find an advocate
Under NDAP, there are 59 organisations across Australia funded to provide free and accessible advocacy services for all people with disability, their families and support people.
You can view a list of NDAP providers here.
Visit Ask Izzy - Disability Advocacy Finder online
You can use the Ask Izzy - Disability Advocacy Finder to search for advocacy providers using your suburb or postcode.
Contact the Disability Advocacy Support Helpline
The Disability Advocacy Support Helpline (the Helpline) provides phone-based disability advocacy support no matter where you live in Australia.
To request disability advocacy support through the Helpline contact the Disability Gateway:
- Call 1800 643 787, Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, or
- Fill out the Contact Us Form.
The Helpline may refer you to other supports in your local area based on your individual needs.
For more information about the Helpline in accessible Easy Read, Auslan and languages other than English, visit our resources page.
What laws and policies guide the National Disability Advocacy Program?
NDAP is guided by the objectives and principles of key legislation and agreements. Some of these are:
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability
- Australia's Disability Strategy 2021 - 2031
- The National Disability Agreement
- The National Disability Advocacy Framework
- The Disability Services Act 1986 (DSA).
In accordance with the DSA, NDAP providers are required to be certified under the National Services for Disability Services (NSDS). More information is available on the department’s Quality Assurance system for NDAP.
Information about the suite of activities that contribute to the NDAP can be found in the program’s Operational Guidelines.
Department of Social Services
Disability Strategy Group
Disability Advocacy and Counselling Supports
GPO Box 9820
Canberra ACT 2601
For day-to-day issues relating to funding agreements and other program and operational matters, NDAP providers should contact the NDAP Grant Agreement Manager in their local Department of Social Services State and Territory office.