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Research Report: Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia
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Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia  ( 2012 )  Cite this report

3. Prevalence of legal problems



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Predicting prevalence of different types of legal problems


To assess whether the types of problems experienced were related to the demographic characteristics of respondents, 12 binary multilevel logistic regressions were performed, one for each legal problem group. The regression for each problem group examined whether demographic characteristics were associated with the experience of one or more problems from that problem group. Again, these regressions used the same set of 11 demographic predictors used in the regressions on overall prevalence.(18)

A summary of these 12 logistic regression models is presented in Table 3.9.(19) The table shows that age was a significant predictor in each model and was usually one of the strongest predictors. In addition, different types of problems tended to peak at different ages. Of the indicators of disadvantage, disability was significantly related to the greatest number of problem groups. People with a disability had increased odds of problems from all 12 problem groups. The results of the regressions on the prevalence of each problem group are summarised below, with the significant predictors being listed in descending order of strength in each case.

Table 3.9: Regression summaries — prevalence of each problem group, Australia


a An odds ratio (OR)>1.0 indicates that the first category had significantly higher odds of experiencing legal problems from the problem group in question than the second category. An OR<1.0 indicates that the first category had significantly lower odds. The size of the OR indicates the strength of the relationship. E.g. OR=2.0 means that the odds for the first category were twice those for the second category. OR=0.5 means that the odds for the first category were half those for the second category, or, in other words, that the odds for the second category were twice those (i.e. 1/0.5=2.0) for the first category. See Appendix A2, ‘Data analysis: Significance and strength of predictors’ section for further details. ‘-’ indicates that the comparison was not significant.
b Due to co-dependence between the employment status predictor and the employment problem group, employment status was not used as a predictor in the model for the employment problem group.
Note: N=20 585 respondents for each model. Data were missing for 131 respondents for each model.

Accidents

Of the 11 demographic characteristics examined, age, remoteness of residential area, education, main language and disability status were significant independent predictors of whether respondents experienced accidents problems. The odds of experiencing accidents problems were significantly higher for the following groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 15–54 year olds and particularly 18–24 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people living in major city areas (versus those living in remote or regional areas)
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people whose main language was English
    • people with a disability.

Consumer

Age, disability status and education were the strongest significant predictors of experiencing consumer problems, and main language, employment status, family status, main income and gender were also significant. The odds of experiencing consumer problems were significantly higher for the following groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 18–64 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people whose main language was English
    • people who had been unemployed
    • single parents
    • people whose main source of income was not government payments
    • males.

Credit/debt

In descending order of strength, age, disability status, employment status, family status, housing type, main language, gender and education were significant independent predictors of whether credit/debt problems were experienced. The odds of experiencing credit/debt problems were significantly higher for the following respondents compared to their counterparts:
    • 18–64 year olds and particularly 25–34 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • people who had been unemployed
    • single parents
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • people whose main language was English
    • males
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels).

Crime

Age was the strongest significant predictor of the prevalence of crime problems, followed by disability status, main language, family status, housing type, education, gender and employment status. The odds of experiencing crime problems were significantly higher for the following groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 15–64 year olds and particularly 15–24 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • people whose main language was English
    • single parents
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • males
    • people who had been unemployed.

Employment

Age was the strongest significant predictor of whether employment problems were experienced, followed by disability status, housing type, education and main income.(20) The odds of experiencing employment problems were significantly higher for the following respondent groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 15–64 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)(21)
    • people with a disability
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people whose main source of income was not government payments.

Family

Family status and age were the strongest significant independent predictors of the prevalence of family problems, and disability status, housing type, main language, main income, employment status and remoteness of residential area were also significant. The odds of experiencing family problems were significantly higher for the following respondents compared to their counterparts:
    • single parents
    • 18–64 year olds and particularly 25–44 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • people whose main language was English
    • people whose main source of income was government payments
    • people who had been unemployed
    • people living in regional areas (versus those living in major city areas).

Government

Age was the strongest significant independent predictor of the prevalence of government problems, followed by disability status, employment status, main income, education, main language, family status, Indigenous status and gender. The odds of experiencing government problems were significantly higher for the following groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 18–64 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • people who had been unemployed
    • people whose main source of income was government payments
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people whose main language was English
    • single parents
    • Indigenous people
    • males.

Health

Disability status and age were the strongest significant independent predictors of the prevalence of health problems. Housing type, Indigenous status, education, employment status, main language, main income, family status and gender were also significant predictors. The odds of experiencing health problems were significantly higher for the following respondents compared to their counterparts:
    • people with a disability
    • 18–64 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • Indigenous people
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people who had been unemployed
    • people whose main language was not English
    • people whose main source of income was government payments
    • single parents
    • females.

Housing

Age and housing type were the strongest predictors of whether housing problems were experienced, followed by disability status, employment status, education, remoteness of residential area and family status. The odds of experiencing housing problems were significantly higher for the following respondent groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 15–64 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • people with a disability
    • people who had been unemployed
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people living in major city areas (versus those living in regional or remote areas)
    • single parents.

Money

In descending order of strength, age, main language, education, disability status, main income and gender were significant independent predictors of whether respondents experienced money problems. The odds of experiencing money problems were significantly higher for the following groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 35–64 year olds (versus those aged 15–24 years and those aged 65 years or over)(22)
    • people whose main language was English
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels)
    • people with a disability
    • people whose main source of income was not government payments
    • males.

Personal injury

Age and disability status were the strongest significant independent predictors of the prevalence of personal injury problems, followed by main income and gender. The odds of experiencing personal injury problems were significantly higher for the following respondents compared to their counterparts:
    • 15–64 year olds and particularly 15–24 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • people whose main source of income was not government payments
    • males.

Rights

Age was the strongest significant independent predictor of the prevalence of rights problems, followed by disability status, family status, employment status, Indigenous status, housing type, main income and education. The odds of experiencing rights problems were significantly higher for the following groups compared to their counterparts:
    • 15–64 year olds and particularly 15–17 year olds (versus those aged 65 years or over)
    • people with a disability
    • single parents
    • people who had been unemployed
    • Indigenous people
    • people who had lived in disadvantaged housing
    • people whose main source of income was government payments
    • people with post-school qualifications (versus those with low education levels).
18. See Chapter 2, ‘Method: Multivariate analyses’ section, and Appendix Tables A2.8 and A2.9 (models 4a–4l) for further details.

19. See Appendix Tables A3.4–A3.15 for the full results of these regressions and Appendix Tables A3.16–A3.27 for the corresponding descriptive statistics.

20. The relationship between the employment status variable and the prevalence of employment problems was not examined, due to too much overlap between this variable and the employment problem group. Being sacked or made redundant was included as a legal problem within the employment problem group. This legal problem would also have been likely to result in a period of unemployment and, hence, membership within the unemployment demographic group.

21. The particularly high odds of employment problems for all age groups compared to the oldest age group are likely to largely reflect the high retirement rates for the oldest age group.

22. People aged 35–64 years had higher odds than the oldest age group, while those aged 15–24 years had lower odds than the oldest age group.

  


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Coumarelos, C, Macourt, D, People, J, MacDonald, HM, Wei, Z, Iriana, R & Ramsey, S 2012, Legal Australia-Wide Survey: legal need in Australia, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney