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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Managing difficult times

Everyone faces stresses and unforeseen events in their lives, and the military way of life can present particular challenges to Defence families. DCO provides a range of support to help you feel prepared, informed and empowered to manage challenges when they arise, and turn them into positive and strengthening experiences for your family.

If things go wrong, or you’re having difficulties, we offer 24-hour advice and referrals, social work, and assistance with emergency and crisis situations, especially when the ADF member is away from the family. To access any of these services or to find out more information, contact the Defence Family Helpline at  DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au or 1800 624 608.

DCO's support services should not be used as a substitute for Triple-Zero emergency services.

Support services

24-hour Helpline

If you need support or advice at any time, you can call the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608. The Helpline is staffed by qualified human services professionals including social workers and psychologists, who can provide you with assessment, assistance or referral.

Mental health and wellbeing

Our mental and social health is just as important to our overall wellbeing as our physical health. We have a range of services and resources to help you prepare for challenging times, create effective support networks, and become more resilient, positive and self-reliant.

Related: Mental health and wellbeing

Support staff

Through the Helpline and local DCO teams, Defence families can access a range of specialised support staff. Local Defence Social Workers help you address personal, family or Service related issues through assessment, brief counselling services or referrals to community providers. Other DCO officers can advise you about local area information, military matters or children’s education issues.

Related: Mental health and wellbeing

Emergency and crisis support

A range of practical and emotional support programs are available for families facing emergency or crisis, including:

  • practical assistance for family emergencies when the ADF member is away from home,
  • support when an ADF member is injured or ill,
  • help with obtaining compassionate consideration for ADF members,
  • safe house accommodation in cases of domestic crisis, 
  • and bereavement support following the death of an ADF member in service.

Related: Emergency & crisis support | Death & bereavement