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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

How to engage DCO

Information and advice

Commanders can seek information, informal assessment and advice, or direction to other resources from the Defence Family Helpline at 1800 624 608. The Helpline operates 24-7 and is staffed by human services professionals.

Formal referrals or reports

To formally refer a Defence family for DCO services or to request a social work report, you will need to complete AC698 and email it to DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au.

The form needs to be completed by the requesting unit and must be supported by relevant information and documentation. This may include PE166 for repost/retention, a member’s statement (this must clearly outline the background situation and request), or medical or specialist reports (these do not need to include clinical notes). The more information and detail that can be provided at this initial referral stage, the more quickly and effectively we will be able to respond. 

Case support

If a Commander requires support in the event of a death, injury or illness in their unit, you should follow these procedures:

  • For injuries or illnesses, raise a NOTICAS signal and include HQDCO as a signal addressee.
  • For deaths, raise a FATALCAS signal and include HQDCO as a signal addressee.
  • For AUSDILs, raise an AUSDIL request via signal and include HQDCO as a signal addressee.

DCO receives many applications for support and needs to prioritise workload accordingly. Please don’t hesitate to discuss timeframes when necessary, but please remember that DCO responds as a priority to crisis and critical incidents. This may impact, and at times delay, assessments with a lower priority.

Privacy

While rare, there are some occasional difficulties that arise in managing the balance between supporting Command and respecting the individual member’s legal right to privacy in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. If you have any concerns in this regard, please contact the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 to discuss the situation.

Members and families

Members and their families can gain information, access to all support services and referral by calling the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608. This is also the method for them to seek their own social work or an appointment with their local DCO office. The Helpline operates 24-7 if after-hours assistance is required.

Under the Privacy Act 1988, any self referrals will not be reported back to the unit without consent of the member. The exception to this is where the personal information has serious implications or consequences for the welfare of the member or others, or where operational or mandatory reporting requirements under the Defence Disciplinary Act dictate it.