About us

About us

About this page

The Victorian Office of the Public Advocate aims to promote and protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.

The Office of the Public Advocate exists to support the work of the Public Advocate. The role and powers of the Public Advocate are set out in Section 15 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (the Act). In summary, the role of the Public Advocate is to support services and actions that promote the rights of people with disabilities and protect them from exploitation and abuse.

The Public Advocate has many responsibilities, including:

  • To protect and promote the rights of people with a disability, as outlined in the Act.
  • To act as an independent statutory guardian, when appointed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a person with a disability who lacks the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

When the Public Advocate is appointed guardian, she has the authority to delegate these powers, either to OPA’s team of dedicated Advocate/Guardians, or to a community guardian from OPA’s voluntary Community Guardianship Program.

We investigate and speak out about situations where people with disabilities are exploited, neglected or abused.

Where needed we can use legal powers to make enquiries on behalf of people with disabilities when there are concerns about their safety or interests.

The Office sits within the Department of Justice, but is independent of government and reports to the Victorian Parliament.

 

Legislation

The Office of the Public Advocate operates in accordance with certain legislative requirements. The legislation pertaining to the work of OPA includes the:

Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
Health Services Act 1988
Disability Act 2006
Mental Health Act 1986

The most current version of each Act is available here.

Significant national and international documents

United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PDF 448KB)

International Guardianship Network, Yokohama Declaration
(PDF 138KB)

Australian Guardianship and Administration Committee, National Standards of Public Guardianship
(PDF 30KB)