This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 18 February 2019 to 29 March 2019. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of this engagement.
Parliament passed the Office for the Ageing (Adult Safeguarding) Amendment Act 2018 in November 2018. The Act makes important changes to the Office for the Ageing Act 1995 to help ensure that the rights of older South Australians and other adults who may be vulnerable to abuse or neglect are upheld.
Importantly, the Act establishes an Adult Safeguarding Unit, to be located in the Office for Ageing Well (formerly the Office for the Ageing), which will focus on the prevention of abuse and neglect of adults. The Unit will complement the role of the police and other government and non-government organisations by providing the South Australian community with an approachable, empowered body that will be responsible and accountable for receiving and responding to reports where an adult may be experiencing or at risk of abuse or harm.
The new Adult Safeguarding Unit, once established, will:
- Receive voluntary reports of abuse, suspected abuse or neglect.
- Support the person to exercise their human rights – that is, making decisions about their own lives to live in a manner of their choosing, while safeguarding and protecting them from serious harm.
- Assess, investigate and provide a response to all reports made.
- Refer, where necessary, to other organisations with relevant expertise to help the person safeguard their rights and mitigate against abuse.
- Always gain the consent of the adult concerned, except in some limited circumstances.
- Have staff who will be ‘authorised officers’, who will have powers to make inquiries. Authorised officers will be able to require any person to answer questions or provide information and records about the circumstances of the adult involved.
- Work closely with a range of government and non-government organisations, where required.
- Develop a safeguarding plan for the adult involved.
- Provide advice about available services or supports they may be eligible for, including legal, aged care, mediation, financial and/or social support.
The Unit is not set up as a regulatory body to monitor other organisations, nor does it have the power to punish perpetrators of abuse.
For the first three years of operation, the Unit will be legally obliged to respond to reports of abuse or neglect relating to people aged 65 years and over, and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over. After that, it will extend its reach to all adults regardless of their age.