ContentJust Search pageLJF site navigationLeft navigation links
LJF Logo
Publications sectionJustice Awards sectionResearch sectionGrants sectionPlain language law sectionNetworks section
Just Search
 
Research Report: Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia
cover image

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

3. Prevalence of legal problems



Print chapter

Predicting prevalence of substantial legal problems


As previously noted, problems rated by respondents as having no impact or only a slight impact on everyday life were considered to be ‘minor problems’, and problems rated as having a moderate or severe impact on everyday life were considered to be ‘substantial problems’. A second binary multilevel logistic regression was conducted to examine the demographic predictors of the prevalence of substantial legal problems in the Australian sample. The regression compared the demographic characteristics of respondents who had experienced at least one substantial legal problem to those of other respondents (who had experienced only minor problems or had not experienced any problems). This regression examined the same set of predictors as the regression on overall prevalence.(13)

A summary of the results of the Australian regression on the prevalence of substantial legal problems is provided in Table 3.7.(14) The pattern of results from this regression was similar to that from the Australian regression on overall prevalence (see Table 3.5), suggesting that the demographic groups that are vulnerable to experiencing legal problems tend to be the same groups that are vulnerable to experiencing substantial legal problems. In both regressions, age, disability status and family status were the strongest independent predictors, and education, employment status, housing type and main language were also significant predictors. In addition, these results were in the same direction in the two regressions. That is, when compared to their counterparts, people aged 15–64 years, people with a disability, single parents, people with post-school qualifications, people who had been unemployed, people who had lived in disadvantaged housing and people whose main language was English had significantly higher odds both of experiencing legal problems overall and of experiencing substantial legal problems.

Table 3.7: Regression summary — prevalence of substantial legal problems, Australia

SIGNIFICANT VARIABLES
VariableCategories compared
Odds ratioa
GenderFemale | male
1.1
Age15–17 | 65+
1.5
18–24 | 65+
2.4
25–34 | 65+
2.9
35–44 | 65+
3.3
45–54 | 65+
2.6
55–64 | 65+
2.0
Disability statusDisability | no disability
2.6
Education<Year 12 | post-school
0.8
Year 12 | post-school
0.8
Employment statusUnemployed | other
1.8
Family statusSingle parent | other
2.1
Housing typeDisadvantaged | other
1.6
Main incomeGovernment payment | other
1.1
Main languageNon-English | English
0.8
NON-SIGNIFICANT VARIABLES Indigenous status, remoteness

a An odds ratio (OR)>1.0 indicates that the first category had significantly higher odds of experiencing substantial legal problems than the second category. 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.
Note: N=20 585 respondents. Data were missing for 131 respondents.


However, there were a few differences between the two regression models. Although gender was a significant predictor in both regression models, the results for gender were not in the same direction. While males had higher odds of experiencing legal problems overall, females had higher odds of experiencing substantial legal problems. Main income was a significant predictor of experiencing substantial legal problems, even though it was not a significant predictor of experiencing legal problems overall. Compared to others, people whose main source of income was government payments had significantly higher odds of experiencing substantial legal problems. In addition, while remoteness of residential area was a significant predictor of experiencing legal problems overall, it was not a significant predictor of experiencing substantial legal problems.

13. See Chapter 2, ‘Method: Multivariate analyses’ section, and Appendix Tables A2.8 and A2.9 (model 2) for further details.

14. See Appendix Table A3.2 for the full results of this regression.

  


CLOSE
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