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Annual Report 2014–15

Feature Articles

DCO Defence families supported in times of absence

In times of training, deployment and humanitarian aid missions, the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) delivers support services to the families of ADF members.

DCO’s all-hours Defence Family Helpline is staffed by human services professionals, including social workers and psychologists, who can provide advice, resources and information to help families manage issues that may arise from the member’s absence from home.

DCO regional teams located around the country also deliver important support services to families, including resilience workshops for partners, teenagers and young children.

The regional teams include a family liaison officer who has extensive knowledge of local communities and can provide families with advice and information to help them find resources or services that best suit their needs.

Tree Malyan has more than six years of experience working as a family liaison officer in Darwin and enjoys supporting families from all three services, particularly those with family members away from home or who are new to the city.

Tree herself moved to Darwin from the United Kingdom as the partner of a lateral transfer recruit from the British Army.

‘As a military daughter and spouse myself, I have an understanding of what military families go through’, she said.

Tree and her colleagues often attend local community forums to ‘spread the word’ on the support services that are available to families while their military partners are away.

They also run regular activities and events that keep families active and engaged in the community or help them network with other Defence families to share experiences and support each other.

‘Once a month we run a “tasties night” where we meet at local restaurants in and around Darwin and Palmerston, and at Christmas and on Valentine’s Day we host an evening for partners of members who are absent from home’, Tree said.

‘Seeing the resilience and support the partners of serving members give each other is very refreshing.

‘To have people trust you and reach out for support, and see how they grow from receiving that support, is very rewarding.’

In January 2015, Tree was awarded an Australian Day Achievement Medallion for her service and commitment to Defence families in the Top End.

‘I love what I’m doing and to have the recognition from the families I support and my peers makes my job worthwhile.’