The teleoperation of robot manipulators over the internet suffers from variable delays in the communications. Here we address a tele-assistance scenario, where a remote operator assists a disabled or elderly user on daily life tasks. Our behavioral approach uses local environment information from robot sensing to help enable faster execution for a given movement tolerance. This is achieved through a controller that automatically slows the operator down before having collisions, using a set of distributed proximity sensors. The controller is made to gradually increase the assistance in situations similar to those where ollisions have occurred in the past, thus adapting to the given operator, robot and task-set. Two controlled virtual experiments for tele-assistance with a 5 DOF manipulator were performed, with 300 ms and 600 ms mean variable round-trip delays. The results showed significant improvements in the median times of 12.6% and 16.5%, respectively. Improvements in the subjective workload were also seen with the controller. A first implementation on a physical robot manipulator is described.