Elder Abuse: OPA information

The Office of the Public Advocate protects adults with a decision-making disability from abuse, exploitation and neglect. This includes people over the age of 65 who can be vulnerable to elder abuse.
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What we do

In addition to its core functions of advocacy, investigation and guardianship services, the Office of the Public Advocate uses a range of strategies aimed at preventing elder abuse.  These include the provision of information, advice and education via the website, a suite of publications, community education sessions and the Telephone Advisory Service.

The Office of the Public Advocate is a member of the Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Western Australia (APEA: WA); an alliance of government, non-government and voluntary organisations.  APEA: WA works collaboratively to raise awareness of the issues surrounding elder abuse and facilitates Elder Abuse policy development in Western Australia.

Elder Abuse Prevention

If completed correctly and used to appoint an appropriate person, enduring powers of attorney and enduring powers of guardianship can be powerful tools in protecting people from elder abuse.

Download an Enduring Power of Attorney and/or Guardianship Kit from our publications page.

The Office of the Public Advocate provides information sessions for community members and service providers about how to complete these documents.

Community Information Sessions

These sessions provide information surrounding enduring powers of attorney and guardianship, enabling adults to appoint a trusted person to step in and make decisions on their behalf, if they lose decision-making capacity.  Session topics include:

  • The importance of nominating a person or people you know well and trust
  • How to ensure the documents are completed and witnessed correctly, so they stand up to any scrutiny in the future.
  • Ideas on the distribution and storage of the documents, so they are readily available if/when they are needed.
  • Guidance on how to revoke the documents.

Bookings are essential. For more information visit the Events, Seminars and Training page.

Service Provider Information Sessions

These sessions educate professionals on the proper operation of enduring powers of attorney and guardianship so they can assist people who are considering completing them and recognise when the documents are not working in someone’s best interests. Session topics include:

  • The correct completion and witnessing of the documents.
  • Suggestions on how to work with enduring guardians and attorneys.
  • How and when it might be necessary to apply to the State Administrative Tribunal.
  • Relevant contact points and sources of information to refer clients to.

Bookings are essential. For more information visit the Events, Seminars and Training page.

Service providers are encouraged to take action if they believe someone is experiencing possible abuse, exploitation or neglect – whether it be by a person who has been appointed under one of these documents or someone else in the person's life.

Who can help

People over 65 years of age, who still have capacity to make their own decisions and who have concerns about potential abuse, can contact the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 724 679 (country callers 1800 655 566) or email rights@advocare.org.au.

The Department of Communities – Elder abuse support services and resources webpage contains useful information and links including an Elder Abuse Awareness brochure and Auslan video version of the information.

The Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (APEA) website has more information about elder abuse, including the elder abuse protocols which help agencies make appropriate referrals when elder abuse is alleged.

The Department of Health website has more information and guidelines to assist health professionals in responding to elder abuse and to ensure that health services support older people at risk.