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Providing information, advocacy and support for people with acquired brain injury (ABI) in SA. How Can I Help? Self Advocacy and Systemic Advocacy

Brain Injury Network of South Australia Inc.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FAHCSIA)

BINSA sometimes needs to gather information In order to provide advice or advocacy within government and nongovernment organisations. It may therefore call meetings, hold focus sessions, or send out questionnaires to get information on certain issues. These issues are matters which will have an impact on many people who have acquired brain injury (ABI) -issues such as changing the rules for providing services or funding provision for services or evaluating the effectiveness of the sector. If you are asked to contribute by attending a meeting or filling in a questionnaire your response helps BINSA to let government and releant agenices know how people are being affected. You can also keep in touch with what is going on by checking in regularly on the BINSA website www.binsa. org or getting a regular newslettter, and of course to contact us and voice your concerns or needs.

70 Light Square Adelaide SA 5000 T 08 8217 7600 F 08 8211 8164 CC 1300 733 049 E W Office Hours 9am-5 pm Monday to Friday

BINSA Advocacy

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is a service to help safeguard the human and legal rights of people who need someone else to speak up for them. In South Australia the Australian Government fund the Brain Injury Network of South Australia Inc. under the National Disability Advocacy program (NDAP) to provide advocacy for people with acquired brain injury (ABI).

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BINSA also provides feedback to Governments and other organisations about issues which adversely affect a large number of people so that changes can be made to the system. When you are dealing with organisations and services, you should contact BINSA if you feel

When should ? I talk to BINSA

you have not received a proper service

you are being denied a service for which you are eligible

you are unhappy about a decision made which affects your situation you are not being listened to you rights are not being recognised you have been discriminated against you are being abused in some way you have used a complaint procedure but are not satisfied with the result.

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Why should I talk to BINSA?

If you have an issue you may find it helpful to talk to BINSA (or another advocacy organisation) if •

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you have difficulty expressing yourself or remembering all the details of a discussion you have difficulty writing letters you have trouble taking in and replying to everything happening in a meeting or discussion

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you want to sort out what you want to say and advice on what would be an acceptable outcome you want to check if the matter is important enough to take it further you are not sure who to approach or how to do it you need to obtain more information you are unclear about your rights. You can make a formal What can I complaint to the service do to help provider organisation Make sure that any anger you myself? have about the issue or event has settled down so you are calm and polite when you discuss it with the organisation Sort out what you want to say and what you want to happen to resolve the matter Ask questions if you are not sure of explanations or answers you receive Make notes or ask someone else to make notes during any discussion or meeting about the issue and keep them so you can read them afterwards if necessary Keep all correspondence so you can refer to it whenever you need to.

A BINSA advocate can help you •

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What Help Can I Expect?

sort out the issue you have-eg what happened and when, who was involved, what you did, how you are feeling about it, what you want to happen to resolve the matter help you decide what you want to do and help you take the necessary steps make contact with the organisation or person concerned on your behalf to try to resolve the situation attend interviews or meetings with you to be an observer, take notes or speak on your behalf write letters or help you write letters negotiate the best outcome possible in the circumstances.

You always have control of how much assistance you want from BINSA. Remember that not every advocacy situation results in exactly what the person wants. There may need to be compromises and in some cases there may not be a ready solution to the situation. However, it is always worth discussing your situation and concerns with BINSA if you feel you have not had ‘a fair deal’.

BINSA What if e to is unabl ? help me

Sometimes it is more appropriate for BINSA to refer you to another advocacy agency which specialises in a particular area. For instance the Equal Opportunity Commission, Legal Services Commission or the Disability Discrimination Legal Service. If you wish, BINSA will still monitor how things are progressing.

Mary – who had difficulty getting the university to recognise her prior learning and give her access to the courses of her choice.

How BINSA has helped ...

Bill – when his GP did not understand the impact of his cognitive disabilities on day-to-day life. John – who did not like his support worker and thought she was not cooking healthy meals, but had been told the worker couldn’t be changed. Joanne – who was struggling with schoolwork, so her mother asked BIN SA to work with her and the school to set up the help that was needed. Jennifer – when Centrelink decided she was ineligible for assistance but they had not taken her hidden disabilities into account. Char1es – with legal problems he had regarding access to his children who remained with his ex-wife. Penny – who thought a family member was not managing her finances correctly.