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Types of investigations

The Office of the Public Advocate is involved in two types of investigations; those referred by members of the community and those referred by the State Administrative Tribunal.

The most commonly investigated concern involves the accommodation of a person with a decision-making disability.

Almost half of all investigations conducted by the Office involve people with dementia, a trend that looks set to continue as our population ages.

Investigations can involve allegations of abuse. The most commonly reported form of abuse is financial, followed by neglect, psychological abuse and to a lesser extent, physical and sexual abuse.

Community-referred investigations

Individuals in the community and service providers who are concerned about the welfare or well-being of a person with a decision-making disability, often refer their concerns to the Public Advocate.

If a case warrants further attention, an investigator from the Office of the Public Advocate examines all relevant information to determine whether an application to the State Administrative Tribunal, seeking the appointment of a guardian or administrator, is required.

Alternatively, concerned individuals or service providers can make an application directly to the Tribunal. This may be more appropriate if the matter is considered urgent.

If the concerned party is unsure about what action to take, they can call the Telephone Advisory Service.

Investigations referred by the State Administrative Tribunal

The Tribunal may refer matters to the Public Advocate for investigation before it makes a decision on whether to appoint a guardian or administrator. The Office of the Public Advocate's Liaison Officer also conducts brief investigations, often limiting the need for a full investigation by the Public Advocate.

Investigators play a key role in seeking less restrictive alternatives for resolving the concerns outlined in an application for the appointment of a guardian or administrator. This may include advising on community services that could help the person with a decision-making disability.

The investigator will prepare a detailed report to assist the Tribunal with its deliberations about a person's best interests.

Last updated: 25-Aug-2015

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