Note: the original hard copy of this report is 16 pages .

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NSW Legal Needs Survey in disadvantaged areas: Campbelltown, Justice issues paper 4   

, 2008 Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas (2006) is the report of a large-scale quantitative study of the legal needs of disadvantaged people in six local government areas of New South Wales. More than 2400 residents across the regions were interviewed about their legal needs. This report was preceded by an initial study Quantitative legal needs survey: Bega Valley (pilot) (2003). There now follows a series of papers in the Justice Issues imprint. Six individual papers will describe how disadvantaged people deal with legal problems, detailing the responses from one of the regions surveyed: Campbelltown, Fairfield, Nambucca, Newcastle, South Sydney and Walgett....


Selected indices from the overall sample


Demographic profile

The demographic characteristics of the survey sample in each LGA are shown in Table 2.

Note that for each LGA, the gender and age profile in the sample was proportionate to that in the population.3 As Table 2 shows, there are quite striking differences between the regions in their demographic make-up.4 For example, Nambucca LGA had the highest proportion for the oldest age group (approximately 25% compared with 8–15% in the other areas), and the lowest proportion aged 44 years or younger (approximately 39% compared with 49–69% in the remaining areas). Nambucca LGA also had the highest proportion reporting a disability (27.5%) which may partly reflect the greater proportion of older citizens. On the other hand, nearly 70 per cent of the South Sydney LGA sample was aged younger than 44 years, only 8.9 per cent aged 65 and over, and 18.3 per cent reporting some kind of disability. Such differences between LGAs are significant in terms of planning for legal services, as age and disability are important factors in determining which and how many legal problems people experience (Coumarelos et al. 2006).

Table 2: Distribution of demographic characteristics of overall sample by LGA, 2003
VARIABLE
South Sydney
Fairfield
Campbelltown
Newcastle
Nambucca
Walgett
%
%
%
%
%
%
Gender
Male
54.4
48.1
47
48.3
48.8
56
Female
45.6
51.9
53
51.7
51.2
44
Age (years)
15–24
15.6
20.8
21.9
18.4
11.6
11.5
25–34 
31.4
18.8
19.5
17.9
9.9
17.3
35–44
21.5
21.8
20.4
18.9
16.9
19.5
45–54
13.6
17.8
20.2
18.4
21.3
20
55–64
9.1
10.8
9.7
11.8
15.5
17
65+
8.9
10.3
8.2
14.7
24.9
14.8
Indigenous status
0.6
0.3
1.7
2.1
3.6
13.2
Country of birth
16.5
45.8
18
2.9
3.4
4.5
Disability
18.3
16.2
20
19.9
27.5
23.7
Personal income ($/week)
$0–199
11.7
28.8
22.5
19.4
23.3
25.7
$200–499
22.8
34.6
34.5
36.6
47.6
43.2
$500–999
38.9
30.5
31.8
34.2
25.4
23.8
$1000+
26.6
6
11.1
9.8
3.7
7.3
Education level
Didn’t finish/at school
2.5
13.6
10
8.7
15
17.3
Year 10/equivalent
8
24.7
32.9
26.2
35
38.3
Year 12/equivalent
19.9
28.7
21.9
17.1
17.2
20.8
Certificate/diploma
15.9
17.6
20.7
18.3
18.4
10.5
University degree
53.7
15.4
14.5
29.7
14.3
13
Notes: All regions, n = 2431 participants. Not all percentages add to 100 per cent within strata due to rounding.
Indigenous status shows proportion of sample identifying as Indigenous.
Country of birth shows proportion born outside Australia. Disability status shows proportion with a disability, including physical disabilities, mental illness and chronic disease.

The Sydney LGAs of Fairfield, Campbelltown and South Sydney showed a greater number of participants born in a non-English speaking country (approximately 17–46% compared with 3–5% for non-Sydney LGAs). The finding for Fairfield is not surprising given that one reason for including this LGA in the sample was that it is an area culturally and linguistically diverse, and that quota sampling of Vietnamese, Chinese (Cantonese) and Spanish cultural/linguistic groups was used to yield numbers proportionate to population for these groups. Walgett LGA had the highest proportion of Indigenous residents (25.1% in 2001) compared with the other LGAs (South Sydney 2.5%, Fairfield 0.7%, Campbelltown 2.7%, Newcastle 1.7% and Nambucca 5.9%) (ABS 2006). The sampling technique also accounts for this higher proportion of Indigenous participants in Walgett LGA (13.2%) compared with the other LGAs (0.3–3.6%). Another notable difference among the six LGAs is that South Sydney appears to be relatively more advantaged in terms of income and education. Over half of the respondents from South Sydney LGA reported having a university degree (compared with approximately 29% or less in the other LGAs) and almost 27 per cent reported a weekly income of $1000 or more (compared with approximately 11% or less from the other LGAs). For further details comparing the population and sample demographic profiles for each LGA, see Coumarelos et al. (2006).

Incidence of legal events

Table 3 shows the distribution of reported legal events by broad area of law (civil, criminal and family). Note that the spread of legal events between these areas of law is likely to partly reflect the survey’s focus on civil law events rather than criminal or family law events. Thus, the large proportion of civil events reported is consistent with the high number of questions contained in the survey pertaining to these types of legal events.

Table 3: Distribution across respondents of reporting at least one legal event under the broad areas of law for six LGAs, 2003
Broad area of law
South Sydney
Fairfield
Campbelltown
Newcastle
Nambucca
Walgett
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
No.
%
Civil Law
289
71.2
*
225
56.1
*
253
62.9
151
63
253
61.1
241
60.3
Criminal Law
148
36.5
*
104
25.9
123
30.6
119
29.2
97
23.4
*
142
35.5
*
Family Law
25
6.2
27
6.7
40
10
34
8.3
52
12.6
*
28
7
All areas of law
76.4
*
61.3
*
69.6
65.9
71.9
69.2
* Statistically significantly different from average over all regions at .01 level.
Notes: South Sydney n = 406 participants (data missing for one participant on family events), Fairfield n = 401, Campbelltown n = 402, Newcastle n = 408, Nambucca n = 414, Walgett n = 400. Note that respondents could report more than one type of event.

Table 3 shows that there was variation across the regions in the incidence of at least one legal event. South Sydney LGA had a significantly higher proportion of people saying they had experienced at least one legal event in the past 12 months (76.4%),5 while Fairfield LGA had a significantly lower proportion (61.3%),6 compared with the average rate overall. These results are likely driven by the reporting patterns for civil events where South Sydney LGA had the highest (71.2%)7 and Fairfield LGA had the lowest (56.1%)8 proportions of people reporting these types of legal events. Reporting of criminal events was also higher than average in the South Sydney (36.5%) and Walgett LGAs (35.5%) and lower than average in Nambucca LGA (23.4%).9 Nambucca LGA registered a marginally higher than average rate for family events (12.6%).10

These findings indicate that the LGAs that constitute the sample for this survey are not homogeneous, either demographically or in terms of legal need. The differences suggest that it would be helpful to practitioners working in these (and perhaps demographically similar) areas to be able to access the results of the survey at the local level. This report is one of a series of six that consider a selection of the main indices from the survey on legal needs, separately for each LGA. This particular report describes the results for the LGA of Campbelltown. Where appropriate, the results for Campbelltown LGA will be displayed along with the corresponding result from the total sample so that comparisons may be facilitated.


 Although there were significant `age by gender` interactions in the tests examining sample distribution versus population distribution, suggesting that there were some departures from proportionality of age groups within each gender group.
 Note that none of these differences were formally statistically tested and are only discussed here for descriptive purposes.
 OR = 1.43, p = .001.
 OR = 0.70, p < .001.
 OR = 1.48, p < .001.
 OR = 0.77, p < .01.
 OR = 1.34, p = .002
10  OR = 1.29, p = .009