For families

When a death is reported to a coroner for investigation our office will contact the nominated family member in writing within a few days to explain the process and provide some helpful information.

People react to death differently and grieve in very individual ways. If you’re concerned about yourself, or someone else, many organisations can give you support and advice.

Coronial Family Services

Coronial Family Services is part of Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services. In the early stages of a coronial investigation, skilled counsellors provide information and support to relatives and close friends of people whose deaths are being (or have been) investigated by a coroner.

Counsellors can provide information about:

  • the process when a coroner is investigating a death
  • autopsy examinations (including possible organ and tissue retention)
  • support for identifications and viewings
  • referrals to support groups and local services
  • advocating and liaising with other agencies on your behalf

Coronial Family Services is based in Brisbane but provides assistance by telephone to people throughout the state.

You can contact Coronial Family Services by

Free call 1800 449 171

Phone: (07) 3096 2794

Email: fss_counsellors@health.qld.gov.au

Other support organisations

Many organisations throughout Australia offer support to relatives and friends that experience sudden and unexpected deaths. View a list of support organisations.

Queensland Coronial Legal Service

Caxton Legal Centre and Townsville Community Legal Service operate the Queensland Coronial Legal Service which:

  • provides free legal advice to bereaved family members about any aspect of the coronial process and associated issues;
  • provide representation to family members appearing in some inquests (where the matter fits with casework guidelines); and
  • works with other service providers to help bereaved families connect with social work, counselling and other support services.

For more information you can make an appointment by contacting:

Caxton Legal Centre

Phone: (07) 3214 6333

Email: caxton@caxton.org.au

Website: caxton.org.au

Townsville Community Legal Service

Phone: (07) 4721 5511

Email: tcls@tcls.org.au

Website: tcls.org.au

Legal advice

You may seek independent legal advice about your options regarding a coronial investigation. You can contact:

  • Legal Aid Queensland for information and referral for legal advice, and advice on whether you qualify for free legal aid;
  • Queensland Law Society for names of legal firms in your area that specialise in inquests and coronial law;
  • Community Legal Centres Queensland for the nearest community legal service available to you; and
  • LawRight (formerly QPILCH) an independent, not-for-profit, community-based legal organisation providing pro bono legal services.

More information

If family or friends cannot arrange or pay for the funeral of a loved one who has died in Queensland (and the deceased’s estate cannot cover the cost of a funeral), the Queensland Government may organise a simple cremation or burial.

For further information, please refer to the Funeral Assistance page.