Citizen Advocacy Board Manual
Section 9

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Terms Used in Citizen Advocacy

Citizen Advocacy is often said to have developed a language which is specific to the practice but confusing. For that reason these explanations are offered to clarify meanings.


Active support, especially of a cause; a function of an advocate.

Citizen Advocate

A valued and competent citizen who is recruited, matched and supported by a Citizen Advocacy office with a person with intellectual disability to represent their interests.

Citizen Advocacy Programme

The spelling of Programme is intended to differentiate Citizen Advocacy from the many other programs funded under the Federal and State Disability Services Acts, e.g. ‘Toilet Training Program’, ‘Employment Program’, ‘Accommodation Program’, ‘Disability Services Program’.


One of the roles a Citizen Advocate may choose. Some Programmes have chosen to call all protégés ‘friends’ but this can result in the Citizen Advocacy office tending to recruit only for friendship roles; it can also cause confusion within the Programme and in the wider community as to the nature of Citizen Advocacy.


The World Health Organisation definition is: ‘Handicap is a function of the relationship between persons with a disability and their environment. It occurs when they encounter cultural, physical or social barriers which prevent their access to the various systems of society that are available to other citizens. Thus, handicap is the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the life of the community on an equal level with others.’

Learning from Citizen Advocacy Programs - LfCAP

O’Brien, John. Georgia Advocacy Office 1987

This is a teaching tool and, is now considered by the author, not to be sufficiently vigorous to be used as an evaluation tool.


The term is used in LfCAP and refers to a person with disability in a citizen advocacy relationship. Partner means "a person who shares an activity, e.g.. social or business; a person on the same team; a husband or wife". This term does not give the full meaning of the aim of Citizen Advocacy and may also influence the way Citizen Advocacy is perceived.


The term used to describe a person with intellectual disability who is recruited by a Citizen Advocacy office and introduced to a citizen advocate. The word is from the French "proteger" which means "to protect". Protégé means "one who is under the care and guidance of another person". It is not a perfect term, but it adequately describes (at least in part) the role of a person who needs the support of a citizen advocate (refer to Citizen Advocacy Forum Vol. 2 No. 5 1992).

PASSING. (Programme Analysis of Service Systems Implementation of Normalisation Goals)

An evaluation tool based upon the principle of Normalisation/Social Role Valorisation, which has been under a process of development by Professor Wolfensberger and Susan Thomas of the Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agency, Syracuse University since 1980. PASSING is used primarily as an educational tool to teach in a very direct, concrete and practical way the forty separate implications of the Normalisation principle. It gives people a very vivid understanding of the ways services consciously and unconsciously wound people with disability, and ideas for improvement.

Standards for Citizen Advocacy Evaluation - CAPE

O’Brien, John & Wolfensberger, Wolf. Syracuse Test Edition 1980

This is both an evaluation and teaching tool.

Social Devaluation

The attribution of low, or even no, value to a person or group by another person or group, on the basis of some characteristic (usually a difference) perceived as negatively significant by the devaluer.

Social Role Valorisation (SRV)

The most recent definition of the term is ‘the enablement, establishment, enhancement, maintenance and/or defence of valued social roles for people, particularly for those at value-risk-by using, as much as possible, culturally valued means’. The term was developed to support the belief that the most explicit and ultimate goal of human services must be the creation, support and defence of valued social roles for people who are at risk of social devaluation.


Some Useful Acronyms

AAN - Australian Advocacy Network

ACOSS - Australian Council of Social Services

ACROD - National Industry Association for Disability Services

ADD - Ageing & Disability Department

ASSID - Australian Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability

ACTION - Action for Citizens with Disabilities

ALRC - Australian Law Reform Commission

CAMA - Disability Services Complaints, Appeals & Monitoring Act 1993

Coalition - Disability Safeguards Coalition

CRU - Community Resource Unit (Queensland)

CSDA - Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement

Disability Council - NSW Disability Council

DOCS - Department of Community Services (State)

DF&CS - Department of Family & Community Services (Federal)

DSA - Disability Services Act 1986

Family Advocacy - Institute for Family Advocacy & Leadership Development

FONGA - Forum of Non-Government Agencies

Foundations - Foundations Forum Inc.

HREOC - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

IDRS - Intellectual Disability Rights Service

LRC - NSW Law Reform Commission

NCOSS - Council of Social Services of New South Wales

NCID - National Council for Intellectual Disability

NSW CID - NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

PDC - Physical Disability Council New South Wales

PWD - People with Disabilities (NSW) Inc.

The Commission - Community Services Commission

TEC - Training and Evaluation For Change (SA)

QAI - Queensland Advocacy Inc.