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Research Report: NSW Legal Needs Survey: South Sydney, Justice issues paper 8
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NSW Legal Needs Survey: South Sydney, Justice issues paper 8  ( 2008 )  Cite this report



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Survey method


Sampling

The six LGAs included in the survey were selected based on the following considerations:
  1. socioeconomic disadvantage
  2. cultural and linguistic diversity
  3. geographic diversity.1

For details of how these considerations shaped the selection of the final six LGAs, see Appendix 1. The sample included three suburban LGAs within Sydney (South Sydney, Fairfield and Campbelltown), a major regional centre (Newcastle) and rural/remote (Nambucca and Walgett) LGAs in New South Wales. Together, these LGAs exhibit relatively high socioeconomic disadvantage, include an area that is culturally and linguistically diverse (Fairfield) and an area with a relatively high Indigenous population (Walgett). They also reflect geographic diversity in terms of urbanisation as well as in terms of inland versus coastal regions of New South Wales.

Sample size

Table 1 shows the size of the population in each LGA and the proportion of the population surveyed.

The total sample size was 2431, with approximately 400 residents drawn from each LGA. On average, the sample drawn from each LGA represented approximately 0.5 per cent of the LGA population aged 15 years or over. However, the samples from Nambucca and Walgett LGAs represented somewhat larger proportions of their total populations (2.8% and 6.2% respectively) as these are less populous areas when compared with the other LGAs.

Table 1: Sample and population size of each LGA, 2003
Statistical divisionLGA
Population (15+ years)a
Sample size
Sample as % of population of LGA
SydneySouth Sydney
55 840
406
0.7
SydneyFairfield
147 960
401
0.3
SydneyCampbelltown
113 459
402
0.4
HunterNewcastle
119 481
408
0.3
Mid-North CoastNambucca
14 529
414
2.8
North WesternWalgett
6 477
400
6.2
Total
457 746
2431
0.5
a Source: Coumarelos et al. (2006). Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated resident population data at 30 June 2003.
Procedure

The survey was administered via telephone interviews in the six selected areas during September and October 2003 to 2431 residents aged 15 years or over. Random sampling from the electronic White Pages was used to draw a pool of potential participants from the six areas. Quota controls were employed to achieve a gender and age profile that reflected the population profile in these areas. The estimated survey response rate ranged between 23.9 and 34.1 per cent.2

Survey instrument

A copy of the survey instrument can be found in the full report of the study (Coumarelos et al. 2006). Briefly, the survey examined the sample’s experience of a total of 101 different events that have the potential for legal resolution. These events are detailed in Appendix 1, Table A1. They include:
  • 76 civil law events categorised into 11 groups — accident/injury, business, consumer, credit/debt, education, employment, government, health, housing, human rights and wills/estates
  • 16 criminal law events categorised into three groups — domestic violence, general crime and traffic offences
  • one group of nine family law events (e.g. residence/contact arrangements for children, child support, divorce/separation).

The survey measured:
  • the incidence of different types of legal events during the 12 months prior to the survey
  • participants’ responses to legal events, including the use of legal services
  • satisfaction with the assistance received for legal events
  • the resolution of legal events
  • satisfaction with the outcome of legal events.

The following findings represent a small subset of the overall set of analyses undertaken on the entire sample. As mentioned above, the results presented here are designed to inform service providers about expressed and unexpressed local legal need across a broad range of legal issues. Further, people’s responses to their legal issues are also explored. It is hoped that such indices may contribute to more informed planning by local legal and non-legal service providers that come into contact with people who have legal needs.

Analysis

The main statistical tests undertaken for this report involved standard and mixed-effects logistic regression (for further detail on these techniques see Appendix 2). The p-value for statistical significance was set at p = .05. Deviation contrasts were used for comparisons between South Sydney and the overall sample. That is, the rate observed in the South Sydney sub-sample was compared to the average rate across all regions.

Only LGAs with a population of 5000 or greater were considered for this study.
The estimated survey response rate gave rise to this range because the rate quoted is dependent upon the assumptions underlying which elements denote the potential population from which the sample is drawn and constitute the denominator. For further details on the calculation methods, please see Coumarelos et al. (2006).

 Only LGAs with a population of 5000 or greater were considered for this study.
 The estimated survey response rate gave rise to this range because the rate quoted is dependent upon the assumptions underlying which elements denote the potential population from which the sample is drawn and constitute the denominator. For further details on the calculation methods, please see Coumarelos et al. (2006).


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Grunseit, A, Iriana, R, Coumarelos, C & Wei, Z 2008, NSW Legal Needs Survey in disadvantaged areas: South Sydney, Justice issues paper 8, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney