About this page
The Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) is an independent statutory body established by the Victorian State Government, working to protect and promote the interests, rights and dignity of people with a disability.
The vision and values of OPA are to work towards a just and inclusive society that values, respects, protects and promotes the dignity and human rights of all persons.
OPA provides a number of services to achieve this vision, and to meet legislative requirements outlined in the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986.
These services include:
- Advice Service: an advice and information service for enquiries about matters including powers of attorney, guardianship, VCAT applications, and consent to medical/dental treatment
- Advocate/Guardian Program: statutory guardianship to Victorians who cannot make decisions for themselves, support to private guardians, and last resort advocacy for people with a disability
- Community Guardian Program: a program for volunteers who are appointed by the Public Advocate to act as independent guardians for Victorians with a disability.
- Community Visitors Program: a program for volunteers who work with OPA to help protect and advocate for the rights of people with a disability, visiting Victorian accommodation facilities for people with a disability or mental illness.
- Independent Third Person Program: a program for volunteers who assist people with a cognitive disability or mental illness during interviews or when making formal statements to Victoria Police.
- Research and Policy: a team of researchers that work to support OPA’s systemic advocacy activities, focusing on issues of concern relating to people with disabilities. It aims to generate research which can be used to improve the lives of people with disability.
- Education and Training: providing information sessions and training for professional groups, addressing issues such as powers of attorney and medical consent.
- Media and Communications: providing information and corporate messages that support OPA’s work. The unit manages the OPA website, OPA publications and other communication tools, media enquiries.