General Advocacy Services

About Us

Official Visitors are appointed by the ACT Attorney-General. The scheme provides a monitoring and complaints system for entitled person in a visitable place, who are dependent on the service provider or accommodation manager supporting them.

The ACT has Official Visitors for Children and Young People, ACT Health (Mental Health), Corrections, Disability and Housing (Homelessness) who visit persons staying in institutions owned, operated or funded by the ACT Government known as a visitable place.

In respect to Corrections and Children & Young People, the scheme also provides for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Official Visitors.

Visitable place is defined as a place specified under the legislation above and includes:

  • detention facilities;
  • therapeutic protection places;
  • places of care;
  • a mental health facility;
  • correctional centres and places outside correctional centres where detainees are directed to work or participate in activities;
  • a place in a correctional centre where a detainee is receiving treatment or care for mental dysfunction or mental illness;
  • a Territory operated disability accommodation for respite or long term residential purposes; and
  • a multiple occupancy supported accommodation facility for homeless people provided by an entity funded by the Territory.

 

Official Visitors are members of the community from a range of cultural, professional and personal backgrounds with skill and experience relevant to the role and work independently of government administration.

Role of Official Visitors

Official visitors aim to safeguard standards of treatment and care and advocate for the rights and dignity of people being treated under the legislation referred to above.

The objective of the scheme is to detect and prevent systemic dysfunction in the specified environments. Official Visitors achieve this by visiting visitable places, talking to entitled persons, inspecting records, reporting on the standard of facilities and reporting to the operational Minister and other public authorities. Official visitors also fulfil a more direct and informal function within their respective environments by resolving grievances and lesser issues.

Contacting an Official Visitor

Official Visitors are available during business hours from Monday to Friday. Persons wishing to speak to an Official Visitor outside of these hours, should make enquiries through the institution concerned. Alternatively a contact form is provided to leave a message for the appropriate Official Visitor.

Entitled persons at visitable places can let the staff know if they want to see an Official Visitor.

An official visitor may be contacted by calling 1800 150 036 and following the prompts. A recorded message will direct the caller to the appropriate Official Visitor. Persons calling this number may be asked to provide their name, phone number and the place they would like the Official Visitor to visit.

For persons with a hearing disability, who have a TTY phone, we have installed a TTY phone to receive your request and arrange a visit by the official visitor for the purposes of the Disability Services Act 1991. The TTY phone number is 1800 424 183. This phone is however only attended to during business hours on week days.

Quick Facts About The Region

Public Trustee and Guardian is located in the suburbs of Canberra Central and City, the council of Canberra and the federal electorate of Canberra.