Charities Services registration number: CC29619

What is Citizen Advocacy?

Citizen Advocacy is an international movement that sets out to promote, protect and defend the rights and interests of people who have an intellectual disability. It was established in America in 1966 by Dr Wolf Wolfensberger who recognized that many people with an intellectual disability:
  • Have no one in their lives apart from people paid to be there
  • Have no one to speak up for them and represent their interests
  • Are vulnerable, and at risk of neglect
  • Have been excluded from  their local communities
  • May not get the services and support they require
  • Do not have opportunities and choices to live a satisfying life
  • From time to time may need support to manage everyday life

Citizen Advocacy calls for the establishment and support of a one-to-one relationship between a person who has intellectual disability and is vulnerable (a protégé), and a citizen advocate. The citizen advocate is a resourceful and principled citizen, who is free from conflict of interest. The advocate makes a freely given commitment to the protégé and undertakes to stand beside the protégé and represent the protégé's interests as though they were their own. Many of these relationships are enduring ones. The citizen advocate receives orientation, ongoing support  and training from the Citizen Advocacy programme.

The Citizen Advocacy coordinator and board members work under a guiding set of principles in order to make the strongest possible match between people. Here are 4 key principles that guide our work;
  1. Each citizen advocacy relationship is freely given.
  2. Each citizen advocate is independent of human services, the citizen advocacy office, and, if necessary, his/her protégé's family. Loyalty to the protégé allows the advocate to speak out and act with freedom and clarity.
  3. Most citizen advocacy matches are established with the hope of developing a long-lasting relationship, some of which may be life-long.
  4. Each citizen advocate looks for ways to bring his/her protégé’s interests, strengths and talents and needs to the larger community in ways that are dignified and enhancing to the protégé.
"Through my increasing involvement with Citizen Advocacy I have seen instances where people have done some extraordinary things, including saving people’s lives, rescuing them from abusive institutions, and just simply standing alongside and sharing the pain of a person for whom nothing seems as if it would work out in their life. I continue to stand in awe of the willingness of ordinary people to do extraordinary things and, what is more, to make very light of what they have done." - Peter Millier (Board member, Australia)
Julie and Alison- Citizen Advocacy
Christy- Citizen Advocacy Auckland

"Transforming our community one match at a time"