EUSTACE- From having experienced being DFed myself and out for 4 years until 2002 , and being in the organization 44 years from birth - I can assuredly tell you that with a capital NO , the family is NEVER told probably 99 % of the time that their relative is being DFEd. It's inhumane and heartless. It was left for me to tell my immediate family and extended JW relatives. If you don't tell them yourself they will DEFINITELY hear it through the social networking of gossip and rumor mill that is common within Jehovah's Witnesses. So you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's a very unenviable and unwinnable position to put it mildly.
True like Blondie stated the elders give you 7 days to appeal the decision from when they tell you that they are DFing you, but in my couple times dealing with JC elder committees they NEVER, NOT ONCE told me to stay quiet about the decision until it's announced. I mean it's not like you want to shout it from the rooftops, you know ? And the elders know this , so they don't bother to tell you to be quiet, they know you will out of the shame THEY have created for you.
I also know for a fact, or let's just say probably 90 % sure- that elders DO NOT keep confidentiality about your DFing case or decisions they make. In fact I will go so far as to say that they lie about the outcomes of your JC case in order to maintain control and save face in front of their congregations. After fading for 4 years ( stopped attending in 2003 ) the elders came chasing after me in 2007 trying to DF me for " circumstancial fornication ". I fought their decision, long story short I won my appeal of my DFing and the WT Society told the appeal elder committee to overturn my DFing on lack of evidence and that I had threatened them with a lawsuit if they DFed me with no proof of my guilt for slander and defamation of my character.
Curiously enough 5 years later I was doing a job at a customers in the same area I used to attend and a " brother " from that congregation saw me and at first wouldn't speak to me. I approached him, said " hi " and he said he avoided talking to me because HE HAD HEARD I had been DFed ! I stated, " No " I had NOT been DFed and explained the unjustness of it that I had it overturned on an appeal committee. So I ask YOU - Who spread the rumor I had been DFed ? The elders, ther wives ? Because they couldn't stand that I had won my case ? Perhaps my ex-wife ? Or youngest daughter who turned me in ? Who the hell knows ? Who cares really ? The point I'm making is even if the elders HAD HEARD these false rumors being spread they did NOTHING to squelch those rumors because they really don't care about individual Witnesses reputations. They only care about their OWN reputations as elders and if they feel you " got over on them " it puts a target on your back. Once again, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
But, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I still would have fought those bastards to clear my name so they wouldn't keep my 80 something year old JW parents from talking to me. So I look at it as a WIN for me because they couldn't separate my parents from associating with me. And that's the only reason I fought it , for my parents and being able to assist the younger upcoming generation of Witnesses in m family nieces and nephews. Sorry fr the long winded post, but Eustace t's important for you and other newbies to read this stuff so none get deluded into thinking elders in the WT organization have your best interests at heart, they do not. First and foremost they have the WT organization interests at heart- only