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Key points

  • an advocate, legal practitioner or union representative can help you with a workplace problem
  • there are both government-funded and private services available.

Do I need the help of someone?

You might want to seek professional assistance if you need help to:

  • identify your workplace rights or entitlements
  • explore and understand your options
  • speak up and advocate for yourself
  • resolve a workplace problem
  • understand the law and your legal rights.

The types of professionals that can help you are either an advocate, legal practitioner or union representative.

What is an advocate?

An advocate is a person with experience in policy, human rights and service provision.

They can help you to understand your rights, access information, services, and support you to make informed decisions and to advocate for yourself.

In Australia, advocacy services are usually government funded. But often help from these services comes with long waiting lists and, sometimes they don’t have the capacity to support someone.

There are private advocacy services or individual advocates, but they charge fees for their services.

There are both generalist and specialist advocacy services, available:

  • generalist advocacy services provide assistance to all people with a disability
  • specialist advocacy services provide assistance to people from a particular background, with a specific disability or with a particular type of problem.

How do I find an advocate?

You can search for disability advocates near you, using the following links:


Disability Gateway

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

What is a legal practitioner?

A legal practitioner is a person who holds a legal practicing certificate and is qualified in the law.

They can assist you with legal matters. This includes giving legal advice, court and tribunal representation and helping you to understand the law and your legal rights.

In Australia, you can access a legal practitioner through the various types of legal services available, which depend on your specific circumstances and financial situation.

See the NSW Department of Communities and Justice for more information about the different types of legal practitioners.

Legal services:

You can search for legal services near you, using the following links:

Disability Legal Services

Community Legal Centres

Legal Aid

Private legal practitioners

What is a union?

A union is an organisation that advocates for employees who work in a particular occupation or industry.

They can assist you to understand your workplace rights and entitlements, resolve workplace issues, and breaches of discrimination and workplace laws.

In Australia, generally a paid membership is required to access the services of a union.

See the Fair Work Commission website to find a union for the industry that you work in.

Case study

Sally had been experiencing bullying at work. After making numerous reports to her boss, which were ignored, she contacted a local advocacy service for help. The advocate she spoke to helped her understand her rights and the options available to her. They worked with Sally to create a plan to address the issue, which involved contacting the company’s Human Resources (HR) Department. They also provided her with the details of a local legal service in case she needed legal advice in the future. 

Real Life Story

Real Life Story