People with impaired decision-making capacity are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society. The OPG safeguards their rights and interests by investigating allegations of neglect, exploitation and abuse.
Under the Public Guardian Act 2014, the OPG has a discretionary power to investigate any complaint or allegation that an adult with impaired decision-making capacity is being, or has been, neglected, exploited, or abused, or has inappropriate or inadequate decision-making arrangements in place.
To carry out an investigation the OPG must identify that the person in question lacks the capacity to make decisions for the matters in question. The Public Guardian also has the formal protective power to suspend for up to three months the power of an attorney who is suspected on reasonable grounds to not be competent.
We can investigate allegations of harm against people with impaired decision-making capacity. This includes all types of abuse, including:
- physical, sexual, emotional or psychological (the last of which can include name calling or denying the adult access to important relationships or their community)
- financial, such as misusing a person’s money
- neglect, such as withholding medication or not providing regular food
- exploitation, such as taking advantage of someone.
The OPG’s primary focus in its investigations is the protection of the vulnerable person with an ongoing commitment to address issues in the least intrusive manner for the person, where possible and appropriate.
The OPG will not continue to investigate matters more appropriately investigated by the Queensland Police Service.