- Co-founder/President/Board Member, Self Advocacy Sydney Inc. 1986 – Current
- President/Board Member, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability 1986 – Current
- Board Member, Disability Council NSW. 2000 – 2015
- Board Member, NSW Intellectual Disability Network Forum. 2010 – 2014
- Board Member, Citizen Advocacy Western Sydney Inc. 1990 – 2010
- Board Member, Intellectual Disability Rights Service Inc. 1990 – 2010
Robert Strike is regarded as a trailblazer – a diplomatic, but always strong, advocate – never wavering in his belief that people with intellectual disability deserve to be valued members of the community. Robert was born with multiple physical and learning disabilities, and also a formidable fighting spirit.
Robert lived in an institution from ages 3 to 17 years, leaving in 1975. During his childhood Robert had some negative experiences resulting in his decision to commit his life to bettering the lives of people with intellectual disability. There were limited opportunities to learn in the institution, and serious restrictions on personal freedom. On leaving, Robert made sure he exceeded all expectations. He has engaged in many educational opportunities he missed growing up. He has also shown that people with intellectual disability can have loving relationships and be successful parents, building an effective support network for his family of 3 young adult children with their mother Julie.
Robert’s public work has been equally successful. Robert has made a significant difference to ensuring that the human rights of people with intellectual disability are acknowledged and met and to developing the knowledge, skills and confidence of people with intellectual disability. Robert co-founded Self Advocacy Sydney in 1986 and became a leading light in establishing the self-advocacy movement around Australia. Self-advocacy is about providing people with disability with the knowledge and tools to advocate for themselves, empowering them in a society in which they are significantly disadvantaged. Robert believes it is essential that people with intellectual disability have the confidence in their own abilities in order to better their lives. Robert has held many board positions including SAS President.
Robert works with the Intellectual Disability Rights Service where he educates people who work in the criminal justice system about the rights of people with intellectual disability. He has provided education to major public services like RailCorp.
In 1987 Robert became one of the first people with intellectual disability to be elected to the Board of NSW Council for Intellectual Disability. As the former Chairperson of NSW Council for Intellectual Disability, and current Vice-Chair/Board Member, Robert has engaged in education, advocacy and lobbying. He meets with government Ministers and politicians championing major policy issues. Every service provider, case worker, professional or government official who has met Robert has an enhanced appreciation of the needs, interests and abilities of people with intellectual disability.
Robert has also co-authored many publications. In 2009 Robert’s work was recognised when the Hon Jenny Macklin MP presented him with the Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Disability Awards.
Robert Strike was recognised in the 2017 Australia Day Queen’s Honours List and appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to the community through advocacy and support roles for people with intellectual disability.
Robert and NSW CID’s Inclusion Manager, RacheI Spencer, attended the UN Conference of State Parties to the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CoSP) talks in New York in 2017 and 2018, to make sure that people with intellectual disability are not excluded from society, and promoting Easy Read information for everyone.