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Access to justice and legal needs. Stage 1: public consultations  ( 2003 )  Cite this report

Ch 1. Who is disadvantaged in seeking access to justice?



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Indigenous Australians


1.20 The disadvantaged position of Indigenous Australians in relation to accessing the legal system was detailed in the Foundation’s Background Paper. This disadvantage was also identified in several submissions and roundtable consultations, and has been a common theme in previous access to justice reports and inquiries:

Many reports have concluded that Indigenous people become, whether defendant or victim, victimised within the system; the outcomes of high incarceration rates mark this out.22

1.21 Indigenous women and children were commonly identified as suffering special disadvantage. Submissions noted the over-representation of Indigenous children and young people in both the care and juvenile justice systems.23

1.22 Elderly Indigenous people were also identified as facing particular issues of disadvantage, with few culturally appropriate services available to assist them. Elderly Indigenous people were seen as vulnerable to violence, sexual assault and abuse from their families.24



Submission from Coalition of Aboriginal Legal Services.
Submission from Youth Action and Policy Association, Submission from Youth Justice Coalition.
Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.

22  Submission from Coalition of Aboriginal Legal Services.
23  Submission from Youth Action and Policy Association, Submission from Youth Justice Coalition.
24  Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.


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Schetzer, L. & Henderson, J 2003, Public consultations: a project to identify legal needs, pathways and barriers for disadvantaged people in NSW, Access to justice and legal needs vol. 1, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney