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Self Advocacy

Self-advocacy: "Do it yourself" trouble-shooting and problem-solving

If you are not satisfied with a health or disability service, you may be able to resolve the problem yourself by taking the following steps …

1 Know your issues

Make sure you are clear about what your issues are.

Write a list. (This can be very helpful if you are feeling angry, upset or distressed by what has happened.) Talk the issues over with a friend you respect.

2 Identify a solution

Ask yourself: "What do I need to put it right?"

3 Find the next step

How have I resolved such issues previously?
What options do I have?

4 Identify any support you need

What support do I need as I go about resolving this? Do I want whanau, family or friends to support me?

5 Communicate your issue

Write the service provider a letter of complaint which you can post, fax or email to them, OR

telephone them and ask to meet with the person/staff members who upset you, and the complaints officer (if there is one) or someone else from the service to discuss the complaint.

6 Have a meeting

A face-to-face meeting (kanohi a kanohi) is an effective way of raising your issues and resolving complaints.
In the meeting you can:

  • tell your story
  • listen to their explanations
  • agree on what will put matters right (this might include discussing changes to the service so what happened to you does not happen again to you or to someone else)
  • accept their apologies (if this is appropriate)
  • agree on "Where to from here?"


Don't know where to start? Need some help?

Call a Health and Disability Advocate to assist you: Free-phone 0800 555 050.