Guardianship is a last resort, if there is no less restrictive alternative to safeguard the interests of an adult with disability.
If a person is unable to make reasonable judgements because of their disability and there are concerns about the decisions they are making, or others are making for them, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can appoint a guardian to make decisions for them
Wherever possible VCAT will appoint a relative or friend as guardian, but in certain cases, VCAT may appoint the Public Advocate.
The Public Advocate can then delegate this power of guardianship to a guardian employed by OPA or to a volunteer participating in the OPA Community Guardian program.
The key responsibilities of Community Guardians are to:
- promote the best interests of the person with disability
- ensure that decisions are the least restrictive to the person’s freedom
- take into account the wishes of the person
- where possible, put them into effect.