What happens during an investigation?
Firstly, we will gather evidence to establish if abuse, neglect or exploitation is happening. The investigations process includes seeking information from a range of sources, including where possible the adult. Types of information which can be requested may include:
- obtaining medical information and opinion about the adult’s decision-making capacity
- clarifying and establishing information about the particular concerns
- contacting banks to get financial records
- conducting property and vehicle ownership searches
- talking with the adult’s friends, family and service providers
- visiting the adult’s residence
- notifying the attorney of the concerns to seek a response and information about the issues.
It’s important to understand that OPG has a discretionary power to investigate matters and determines the investigation’s scope. This may mean the investigator does not investigate a point raised in a referral that is considered irrelevant to the adult’s decision-making arrangements or interests.
Note that if an investigation identifies evidence of possible criminal activity, it will be referred to the Queensland Police Service.
How long does an investigation take?
Each investigation is different, which means an investigation’s duration depends on the evidence needed and how hard it is to locate that evidence.
Consequently, this is often not a fast process. A typical investigation can take from several months to more than a year, with about half our cases taking more than six months to complete.
However if the balance of probability indicates that an adult is at immediate risk of harm, we can often act very quickly to either suspend a power of attorney (which can prevent the attorney from removing funds from an adult’s account) or, in more extreme cases, execute a warrant to remove an adult from a harmful situation. This may be done as quickly as 24 hours after we are notified.