Adult Safeguarding Forum

Speakers from the Adult Safeguarding Forum from left to right:
Kay Patterson, Debbie Phillips, Cybele Koning, Uncle Willie Prince, Adrian Ahern, John Chesterman, Robert Fitzgerald, Alison McLean, Shayna Smith.

On 9 March 2023 the Public Advocate hosted an adult safeguarding forum at Queensland Parliament House, opened by Jonty Bush MP.

The forum provided a valuable opportunity for the more than 120 attendees to continue discussions around critical issues like; the prevalence of elder abuse, the abuse of enduring documents like powers of attorney, and the critical gaps that exist for adults at risk in the current system.

The event featured a range of expert speakers and panel members including (pictured above):

  • The Hon Dr Kay Patterson, Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner
  • Mr Robert Fitzgerald, the NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner
  • Mr Geoff Rowe, CEO of Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia (not pictured)
  • Ms Shayna Smith, Queensland’s Public Guardian
  • Senior Sergeant Debbie Phillips, State Disability and Elder Abuse Coordinator, Queensland Police Service
  • Mr Adrian Ahern, Customer Advocate, Westpac
  • Ms Cybele Koning, CEO, Caxton Legal Centre

The forum provided a valuable follow up to the tabling of Volume 2 of the Public Advocate’s Adult Safeguarding Project Report in the Queensland Parliament on 8 December 2022.

This report includes 17 reform recommendations to Government.

Recommendation 1 in the report calls for the establishment of a Queensland Adult Safeguarding Commissioner to support and safeguard at-risk adults. The Commissioner would be able to receive and investigate reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of at-risk adults and take a ‘supportive intervention’ approach in response.

The Commissioner would be supported by the establishment of local Adult Safeguarding Networks throughout Queensland (recommendation 10), which would consist of local service providers, advocates, relevant health services, emergency services, agencies with regulatory roles and other local social care experts.

Other reform recommendations included in the report cover topics including the NDIS, advocacy, and the promotion of supported decision-making.

Click here for further details regarding the report (and access to both volumes).