What We Do

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STAR is committed to community inclusion in its entirety. Inclusion in pre-schools, schools, tertiary institutes, where you live, in recreation/leisure options, work and just ordinary life, together with equity and full participation are a right of all Victorian citizens.

Our advocacy takes a Human rights approach in that it

  • focuses on the fundamental rights, human needs and interests of people and specifically prioritises those rights that have the greatest potential to minimise the person’s vulnerability and maximise their independence
  • supports people with an intellectual disability to experience real choices and exercise control over their own lives. We do this by putting the person with the disability first and all action is is person centred. STAR individual needs policy
  • assists families to understand and respond to the changing nature of their role as a child progresses to adulthood enabling them to provide the appropriate support at different life stages , to be supportive without being controlling.

In this way STAR works at ensuring that inclusion, choice and independence are not simply rhetoric but a way of life that is meaningful and relevant to “ordinary people” wanting to lead “ordinary lives”.

STAR does this by –

STAR works to mobilise people with a disability, those who support them and their networks, particularly at the local level throughout the state.

This means:

  • informing, assisting, empowering and advocating for people with intellectual disability and their families to access the same opportunities available to all Victorians
  • changing community attitudes
  • working individually and collectively to influence decision makers and bring about real and lasting change

STAR promotes action on issues that effect people with an intellectual disability throughout Victoria and is part of a strong network of other disability groups committed to social action.

STAR offers information for display at forums and community events, workshops, conferences and speakers for pre-service and in-service training for workers in the field.

People with an intellectual disability and/or those concerned with/about the interest of a person with and intellectual disability can contact us via phone email or by making an appointment to call into the STAR office.  Our service is free of charge.  See bottom of page for contact details.

STAR is committed to providing a high standard of service to our members and people who use our service. If you have any feedback, good or bad or you are not happy with STAR we encourage you to tell us about this.

It is okay to make a complaint.

By making a complaint you are helping to sort out a problem and you are also helping STAR to make our services better for everyone. STAR has a complaints policy (STARComplaintspolicy) If you want a hard copy of the procedure, you can contact the STAR office.

Download a copy of the STAR Brochure here (STARBrochure) (pdf)

Alliances and Networks

STAR is a member of Disability Advocacy Victoria which is the peak body of independent disability advocacy organisations. Disability Advocacy Victoria is an active participant in the creation of a fully inclusive society in which people who have a disability are included as equally valued and contributing citizens.

STAR facilitates the Inclusive Education Alliance which is a group of individuals and organisations from the education and disability advocacy fields committed to the promotion and achievement of “Inclusion for all” in the education of students with disability in Victorian education.  To find out more about the IEA contact STAR office on 03 9650 2730 or email esther@starvictoria.org.au


From time to time, STAR helps to initiate projects aimed at providing support to people in the community in new ways. Projects are undertaken on specific and topical issues such as inclusive education, housing, costs and charges, women’s health and sexuality and recreation options for older people with an intellectual disability.

The aim of STAR projects is to develop community understanding and to ensure the provision of quality and responsive services and support.

Organisational Structure

Membership of STAR comprises people from all walks of life and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Membership includes people who have an intellectual disability, parents/family members, as well as members of the wider community who share and uphold the vision and values of the organisation. The Core Principles and policy framework that underpin all STAR’s work are reviewed regularly, strengthened and amended where necessary and adopted by the Membership at the AGM.

STAR does not have a branch structure, rather operating through key
metropolitan and regional/rural contacts and networks. STAR actively fosters and encourages the identification and support of new members and strives to nurture their involvement in the organisation.

STAR is managed by a Board of volunteers who are elected annually at the AGM by the membership. The composition of the Board represents the broad categories of membership, including people with an intellectual disability, family members and those working in the disability field who are supportive of STAR’s principles and vision. People with a disability and family members always form the majority of the Board.

The role of the Board is to manage the organization in accordance with all legislative requirements, STAR’s constitution, the stated Core Principles, comprehensive policy framework and operational procedures within the approved budget.

Enacting Principles

Enacting Principles which guide and impact on the way STAR works

•  enrichment and diversity – Society is enriched by diversity of its members and their shared humanity

•  recognition of vulnerability – people with disability are more vulnerable when they are not supported to be part of families, neighbourhoods and wider communities.

•  strong independent advocacy – advocacy is strengthened when it is independent and free from conflicts of interest whether real or perceived

•  joining with allies – joining with others with a similar vision strengthens the advocacy voice of people with disabilities and their families as well as the community.


STAR was formed in 1970 when parents of people with an intellectual disability recognised that, whilst trying to improve the circumstances of their own sons and daughters, it was essential to change the community attitudes toward intellectual disability. Considerable change has been achieved and momentum maintained through consistent and targeted social action inherent in STAR’s work. In later years other organisations have been formed and have joined STAR in strengthening the momentum.

STAR has helped initiate projects aimed at providing support to people in the community in new ways. Interchange, Citizen Advocacy and Parent to Parent support are all examples of programs initially undertaken or auspiced by STAR which now operate in their own right.

One of STAR’s founding members, Ethel Temby, was a leader in the intellectual disability field for more than 40 years. During that time Ethel almost single-handedly led a revolution in the way we think and act about people with a disability. Ethel talked and acted about the rights of people with a disability to live everyday lives in everyday communities, and about the responsibilities of communities to be more inclusive. At that time no one else did that.  These ideas have now become commonplace throughout Victoria and indeed Australia.

In recognition of her commitment to Social Justice and openness to look with an enquiring mind at what is possible and her determination to make things happen the Victorian Government established the Ethel Temby Study Tour Awards. Ethel Temby Study Tour Awards provide opportunities for existing and potential staff to develop skills and knowledge in innovative and practical ways that will enable them to support people with a disability to pursue their chosen lifestyles.

STAR has a proud 43 year history of empowering and resourcing people with an intellectual disability, their families and supporters, to speak up, be heard and make change.