What happens during an investigation?
Firstly, we will gather evidence to establish if abuse, neglect or exploitation is happening. The investigations process can include:
- contacting banks to get financial records
- talking with the adult’s friends, family and service providers
- visiting the adult’s residence.
Our investigator also has to request a medical report to establish the adult’s capacity to make simple and complex decisions and, if the adult’s doctor isn’t known, this may mean contacting Medicare for a list of treating medical professionals.
It’s important to understand that OPG determines the investigation’s scope which means the investigator may not investigate a point raised in a referral that is considered irrelevant to the adult’s decision-making arrangements.
Note that if an investigation discovers evidence of 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.