What is the reporting process?

To report abuse you can call us on 1300 653 187 or submit an online form. We will then talk with you to better understand the situation and determine if there are grounds to investigate.

If there are grounds, we will send you a referral form so you can provide information about the alleged abuse as well as details about:

  • the person you are concerned about (the adult)
  • the accused person (the respondent)
  • any other interested parties
  • yourself.

You can complete the form anonymously but this could slow down the investigation because it may be harder for us to access relevant information. It also means we may be unable to let you know the investigation’s outcome.

In regards to privacy of information, it is worth noting that the Public Guardian's power to obtain information has, at times, been seen by those who have a grievance against an attorney as a potentially convenient vehicle to obtain access to information to which they would not be entitled or to exert pressure on an attorney. However not only will such attempts not succeed, but any information gained by the Public Guardian in the course of an investigation is protected by confidentiality provisions and is not subject to Right to Information requests. Importantly, this includes not disclosing the name of the complainant or any identifying details to the parties.

What happens to the referral form you send us?

We will review your referral form to establish if:

  • there are reasonable grounds to assume that the adult has impaired decision-making capacity
  • there is a substitute decision maker (such as an attorney) involved or not
  • it is a case of self-neglect and the adult needs someone to assist them with decisions
  • the information included in the referral form confirms the need for an investigation.

This process takes about three weeks and, at this point, we will either accept or decline the referral.

Provided you’ve given us your contact details, we’ll let you know the outcome and, if an investigation goes ahead, you’ll receive a copy of the final report. However information about the investigation is confidential, and unless you’re appointed as the adult’s guardian and/or attorney you won’t have access to information and documentation related to the investigation.

For details about what happens during an investigation, see our website’s investigation process section.