A Marshall Liberal Government will legislate to empower a government agency to conduct investigations into allegations of abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.
This adult protection legislation will be one of the first bills we table and will provide legal safeguards for adults who are vulnerable to abuse or neglect. It will also empower a Vulnerable Persons Agency to both conduct investigations of concern raised and co-ordinate responses across agencies.
It will take into account recommendations from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption inquiry into Oakden and will focus on harm, early intervention, and will support assessment case coordination, inter-agency collaboration and information sharing.
The Vulnerable Persons Agency will be required to make reports to the police or otherwise share information where it appears there are reasonable grounds to conclude that a serious criminal offence may have occurred.
The Oakden scandal has exposed just how vulnerable many South Australians are, particularly as that abuse took place within a state government institution.
The alarming truth is that there are tens of thousands of vulnerable South Australians living in situations where they are at risk of abuse or neglect with inadequate protection.
Much of the abuse and neglect happening falls short of criminal behaviour and as a result doesn’t come to the attention of police.
Abuse is also significantly under-reported because it often occurs within families and many people are reluctant to press police charges against a member of their own family.
The Weatherill Labor Government has completely failed vulnerable people.
That’s why we will act to protect elderly South Australians and other vulnerable adults from abuse by ensuring allegations of abuse are promptly and effectively investigated.