What is consent?
Giving consent for a family member or an advocate to access your personal information is an important part of protecting your privacy. We only share your information if you have provided informed consent, or where the law allows the release of information without your consent.
You have the choice to give your partner, family member, an advocate, another person or an organisation of your choice access to your information. You can limit what information is released to them and withdraw or change your consent at any time.
Consent is giving permission for others to act on your behalf to access or use your personal information. It is important that you consider who you would like to give access to your personal records and information, or who can act on your behalf.
We prioritise protecting you and your privacy, and will ask for consent at different times. This can include consent requests when:
- you ask for information about our services,
- your compensation claim,
- your service pension,
- or use Open Arms services.
We may also ask for your consent to request your personal information from other organisations, such as Defence or from your medical practitioners.
You have the option to give consent for people to act on your behalf. You are in control of who you give consent to access your personal information.
Why is consent important?
Generally, we will only release your information when we have consent for that particular information. For example, if you have given your partner consent to act on your behalf about your service pension, this does not give them permission to access information about your compensation claim. You need to give consent for your partner to access information relating to your compensation claim separately.
How to give your consent
You can give consent for your partner, family member, a person or an organisation to access your information. To protect your privacy, we do not have one generic form for consent. There are different DVA consent forms for specific information requests, listed below.
If someone is requesting your personal information from us on your behalf, they will need to have your consent. For details on ways to access information see:
Types of consent and authorisation
Consent for a Partner
You only need to complete this consent form if you have a current partner. This form allows both members of a couple to consent to the collection and sharing of relevant personal and financial information between each member.
Your consent will remain valid until you or your partner withdraws consent.
Consent for a family member or a third party
You can nominate a person, family member or an organisation to act as a representative to interact with us on your behalf. You are in control of your nominated representative’s authority to act and what personal information they can access.
You have the option to choose how long you would like the representation to last for by completing Part B of the form. There is the option here to select a set duration of time or indefinitely.
Consent when someone passes away
If you are a family member, advocate or representative of a veteran who has passed away, you may find that you need to access their information.
We understand that this is a difficult time for you and we are here to support you.
Please contact us to talk about the informal ways you can access the personal information of someone who passed away and the evidence needed to show your legal entitlement to the information.
Evidence of legal authority
We will need to consider evidence of your legal entitlement to access this information.
You will need to provide documents that show your legal authority, such as a Will, Grant of Probate, Letter of Administration, and/or other forms.
This must be provided especially in situations where your relationship status with the deceased client is unclear. For example, when there is an absence of a recorded authority from the client’s next of kin.
If there is no evidence of your legal authority to access the deceased client’s information, you will need to provide proof of relationship evidence. This includes a Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate, Death Certificate, or evidence of shared residency.
Additionally, we will work with advocates, nominated representatives and executors of wills to confirm the deceased client’s existing consent to disclose information.
Where we are unable to release information, we will provide you with clear guidance on the reasons why the information cannot be disclosed and an outline of the next steps or alternative options available to you.
Formal requests (FOI)
You can also submit a formal request to access information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) where you have a right of review of the information released. However there may be charges.
More information about making an FOI request is available here
If you decide to make a formal request to access information under the FOI Act and you are:
A family member, an advocate or representative with the authority of another individual:
not an advocate or representative acting with the authority of another individual:
Thinking about the future
You may wish to plan for the future and think about who will have consent to access to your records if something happens, and you are unable to look after your affairs.
A Power of Attorney will give a person of your choice the authority to make decisions about your finances and health care. You are in control of the type of authority you consent to, such as a general or an enduring Power of Attorney with options to limit certain decisions, add conditions and specific directions.
The DVA can provide information to a person appointed under a current Power of Attorney, an executor, or administrator under a will.
How to withdraw your consent
- To withdraw your consent please get in touch with our Information Access Unit
When consent is not required
In some emergency and law enforcement circumstances the Department is able to disclose personal information without consent. This falls under the Australian Privacy Principle 6 and includes circumstances where DVA is served with Court orders or subpoenas or notices to produce information or evidence.
Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling
Open Arms is a counselling service administered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) that specialises in providing free face-to-face and/or tele-health counselling, group programs and peer support.
If you have appointments with Open Arms, you will be asked to provide consent. This is to protect your privacy and ensure confidentiality. Open Arms will use your information for the purpose of providing you with Open Arms counselling services and will only disclose your information with your consent or as required or allowed by law. For quality improvement purposes, clinical governance staff undertake clinical audits of your files. This is explained in the consent forms you will be asked to sign.
Open Arms are committed to your privacy and confidentiality.