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Research Report: Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas
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Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas  ( 2006 )  Cite this report

Ch 4. The response to legal events



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Summary: the response to legal events


This chapter examined participants’ responses to their three most recent legal events. Participants provided information on their responses to 2921 events.7 The main findings were as follows.

Participants sought help for a little over half these legal events, dealt with the event themselves in 16.0 per cent of cases and did nothing in the remaining one-third of events.

The most common reasons for taking no action were that the participant did not perceive the event to be serious or did not realise its seriousness (for 253 events), and that the participant thought that seeking help would make no difference or make things worse (for 230 events).

According to the logistic regression analysis, age, Indigenous status, education level and legal event group were independent predictors of whether or not participants sought help in response to the 2921 events. The odds of seeking help were:

  • higher for 35 to 44 year olds than for people aged 65 years or over8
  • lower for Indigenous than non-Indigenous people
  • lower for people who had completed schooling only as far as Year 10 than for university graduates
  • lower for consumer and human rights events, and higher for accident/injury, employment and wills/estates events, when compared with all events on average.


Although respondents three most recent events constituted 3024 events, information on action taken in response to events was provided for only 2921 of these 3024 events.
As noted above, 15 to 24 year olds had the lowest rate of seeking help (43.2%), but the regression did not test comparisons between the youngest age group and every other age group.

 Although respondents three most recent events constituted 3024 events, information on action taken in response to events was provided for only 2921 of these 3024 events.
 As noted above, 15 to 24 year olds had the lowest rate of seeking help (43.2%), but the regression did not test comparisons between the youngest age group and every other age group.


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Coumarelos, C, Wei , Z & Zhou, AH 2006, Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney