Note: the original hard copy of this report is 164 pages .

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Data digest: a compendium of service usage data from NSW legal assistance and dispute resolution services, 1999-2002   

, 2004 Analyses data collected by the main publicly funded NSW legal service providers on the nature of inquiries received, the demographic characteristics of inquirers and the pathways they took to resolve their issues.

Ch 2. Demographic characteristics of service users

This chapter describes demographic characteristics of those who make inquiries (service users). The characteristics include gender, age, Indigenous Australian status, country of birth, source of income and region of residence.

It should be noted that the demographic data collected by each service varied considerably. A matrix of the availability of demographic variables for each service is included in Appendix 1. There is also a high rate of missing data for a number of the variables. In some cases these missing values have been adjusted for, as discussed in Appendix 4.

Where possible, the demographic profile of service users was compared with that of the NSW population using the index of concentration (IC). More information about the index of concentration is provided in the introduction to Section 1 under ‘Methodology’ and in Appendix 4.

It needs to be noted that variations in the use of services by different demographic groups could be influenced by a number of factors:

Thus, a relatively low proportion of inquiries to a service from young people may be due to a low incidence of legal problems among young people, or a low rate of usage of the service by young people. In turn, low use of a service may reflect lack of awareness of the service, lack of accessibility, or the fact that young people are not a priority group for the service.