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Research Report: Data digest
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Appendix 2: Additional services


Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC)

http://liac.sl.nsw.gov.au

Data

Data were collected via a survey of State Library LIAC clients for the period 1996 to 2002. Over that period, methodologies, including questionnaire content, have been reviewed and changed. Due to sample sizes and response rates, caution must be exercised in analysing trends in the data.

The aim of the survey is to build profiles of current LIAC clients, including their usage of LIAC, as well as to measure client satisfaction with the service provided. The client survey is conducted at different times over the year, to ensure representation of different client groups. During the survey period, a self-completing questionnaire is distributed to all visitors to the Centre, as well as those who contact LIAC by telephone, letter, fax or email.

The sample sizes are: 301 (1996); 206 (1998); 238 (2002). The total number of service users of the State Library LIAC during the period 1996/97 to 2002/03 was 122167.

Data were provided for the following variables: legal matter, gender, age, Indigenous Australian status and language.

Data were provided as tables in a Word document. As a result, data could not be mapped to Law and Justice Foundation categories, nor could variables be cross-tabulated.

Approximately 50 per cent of those answering the survey were using LIAC for study.

Role

Trained staff of the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) at the State Library of NSW and in public libraries across New South Wales, assist the public to access authoritative, up-to-date information and sources of legal assistance relevant to their needs. The State Library LIAC has a comprehensive range of legal information resources and specialist staff. All public libraries in NSW have plain language legal information.

Legal matter

Table 2-1:  Percentage of inquiries by area of lawa
Legal Information Access Centre, NSW, 2002b
Area of law
Inquiries
BroadSpecific
%
Family Total Family
13
CrimeTotal Crime
23
CivilHousing
5
Workplace/Employment law
10
Environmental/Planning law
6
Court/Parliamentary procedure
5
Business/Commercial
10
Immigration
4
Other
33
Total Civil
73
Total (%)
109c
Total (No.)
238
a  The area of law has not been mapped to Law and Justice Foundation categories.
b  Data were only available for 2002.
c  This question allows for multiple responses. A client inquiry may involve more than one subject category, leading to a total of more than 100 per cent.
Source: Legal Information Access Centre (unpublished data).

Gender

Table 2-2:  Percentage of inquiries by gender
Legal Information Access Centre, NSW, 1996-2002
Gender
1996
1998
2002
All
NSW pop'n
%
%
%
%
IC
%
Male
49
44
48
47
96
49
Female
51
56
51
53
104
51
Total (%)
100
100
99a
100
100
Total (No.)
301
206
238
745
a  Information about gender was missing for 1 per cent of the data.
Note:  Shaded areas indicate that the IC is greater than 100.
Source:  Legal Information Access Centre (unpublished data).

Comment
  • There was a slightly higher proportion of women using LIAC, relative to their proportion of the NSW population. The proportion of inquiries from men and women varied between 1996 and 2002.

Age

Table 2-3:  Age group by year
Legal Information Access Centre, NSW, 1996-2002
Age
1996
1998
2002
All
NSW pop'n
(years)
%
%
%
%
IC
%
Under 18
17
3
15
12
48
25
18-24
23
35
24
27
300
9
25-34
19
17
16
17
113
15
35-44
13
17
10
13
87
15
45-54
11
11
16
13
93
14
55 & over
17
17
18
17
77
22
Total (%)
100
100
99a
99a
Total (No.)
301
206
238
745
a  Information about age was missing for 1 per cent of the data.
Note:  Shaded areas indicate that the IC is greater than 100.
Source:   Legal Information Access Centre (unpublished data).

Comment
  • The proportion of 18 to 34 year olds using LIAC was greater than would be expected given their share of the NSW population. Inquiries were particularly high for 18 to 24 year olds (IC 300). This may be linked to the high proportion of those using LIAC for study purposes (approximately 50%).
  • The proportion of service users who were 35 years old or over was lower than would be expected given their share of the NSW population.

Language spoken at home

Table 2-4:  Language spoken at home by year
Legal Information Access Centre, NSW, 1996-2002
Language spoken at home
1996
1998
2002
All
NSW pop'n
%
%
%
%
%
English
85
70
80
78
75a
Other
15
30
20
22
25
Total (%)
100
100
100
100
100
Total (No.)
301
206
238
745
6 371 745
a  Speaks English only.
Source:  Legal Information Access Centre (unpublished data).

Comment
  • The proportion of service users who spoke a language other than English at home was slightly lower than would be expected given their share of the NSW population. This varied between 1996 and 2002, with a higher proportion of service users than would be expected in 1998.

Indigenous Australian status

Table 2-5:  Indigenous Australian status by year
Legal Information Access Centre, NSW, 1996-2002
Indigenous Australian
1996
1998
2002
All
% of NSW pop'n
%
%
%
Yes
1
0
2
1
1.9
No
99
100
98
99
98.1
Total (%)
100
100
100
100
Total (No.)
301
206
238
745
6 371 745
Source:  Legal Information Access Centre (unpublished data).

Comment
  • The proportion of Indigenous Australian service users was lower than would be expected given their share of the NSW population. This varied between 1996 and 2002, with a slightly higher than expected proportion in 2002.

Women's Information and Referral Service (WIRS)

http://www.women.nsw.gov.au/referral/refhome2.html

Data

The data include inquiries about legal matters from 4/12/00 to 28/6/02. Approximately 25 per cent of calls to WIRS were classified as legal during this period.

The total number of records was 1908.

The variables collected include age, culture, how found, and description of the call. These were provided in an Excel spreadsheet and were mapped to Law and Justice Foundation categories, as described in Appendix 3.

Data on the gender of the caller were not collected. It could be assumed that a large proportion of the inquirers were either women or calling on behalf of women.

Role

The Women's Information and Referral Service is a service of the NSW Department for Women. It provides a first stop telephone contact point for women seeking up-to-date and accurate referral information about organisations and services for women in New South Wales. The focus is on women with limited access to social and economic resources. Information and referral are provided on a range of issues, including legal issues. Specialist services include an Indigenous Australian information officer and Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay speaking information officers. Anyone may use the service.

Legal matter

Table 2-6:  Percentage of inquiries by area of law
Women's Information and Referral Service, 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
Area of law
%
BroadSpecific
FamilyFamily law
68.7
CrimeCrime
3.3
Domestic violence
10.5
CivilBusiness/Media
0.2
Consumers
1.4
Credit/Debt
3.2
Employment
2
Government/ Legal system
4
Health/Human rights
1.3
Housing
3.2
Motor vehicles
0.8
Personal injury
0.3
Wills/Estates
1.1
Total (%)
100
Total (No.)
1 476

Comment
  • Family law accounted for 69 per cent of inquiries.
  • Family law and domestic violence combined accounted for over three-quarters of inquiries (79.2%).

Age

Table 2-7:  Percentage of inquiries by age group
Women’s Information and Referral Service, NSW 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
Ages (years)
%
IC
NSW women pop’n %
Under 15
0.1
0.4
20.6
15 to 17
0.5
11
4.2
18 to 24
5.4
58
9.2
25 to 34
30.8
212
14.5
35 to 44
35.3
230
15.3
45 to 54
18.4
136
13.5
55 to 64
7.5
82
9.1
65 and over
2
15
13.2
Total (%)
100
100
Total (No.)
1 524
Notes:  Shaded areas indicate that the IC is greater than 100.
Information about age was missing for an additional 384 (20%) of inquiries.
Source:  Women’s Information and Referral Service (unpublished data).

Comment
  • There was a low proportion of inquiries from under 25 year olds, relative to their share of the NSW population. The IC for under 15 year olds was 0.4, rising to 58 for 18 to 24 year olds. The low rate of inquiries from under 15 year olds is not surprising, given that lawyers working with young people anecdotally report that few people under 12 will seek legal assistance on their own.
  • There was a high proportion of inquiries from 25 to 54 year olds, given their share of the NSW population, with the IC peaking at 230 for 35 to 44 year olds.
  • There was a decreasing proportion of inquiries from over 55 year olds, with the IC falling from 82 for 55 to 64 year olds to 15 for those 65 or over.

Age: Legal matter

Table 2-8:  Percentage of inquiries by age group and broad area of law
Women's Information and Referral Service, NSW, 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
Age
Family
Crime
Domestic violence
Civil
Total
(years)
%
%
%
%
%
Under 25
63.8
5.8
7.2
23.2
100
25 to 34
74.1
3.8
10.5
11.6
100
35 to 44
69.6
4.7
12.5
13.2
100
45 to 54
70.2
4.1
9.2
16.5
100
55 to 64
53.1
3.1
20.8
22.9
100
65 and over
37
7.4
55.6
100
a  Numbers were not sufficient to break down Civil Law inquiries to a greater level of detail.
Note:  N = 1205. Information about age or area of law was missing for an additional 703 (37%) inquiries.
Source:  Women's Information and Referral Service (unpublished data).

Comment
  • Family Law matters accounted for the majority of inquiries for all age groups except for over 65 year olds, who made a higher proportion of inquiries about Civil Law (55%).
  • Based on the chi-square examining broad area of law by age, 55 to 64 year olds were more likely to generate inquiries about domestic violence.

Country of birth

Table 2-9:  Percentage of inquiries by country of birth
Women's Information and Referral Service, NSW, 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
Country of birth
Inquiries
%
IC
NSW female pop'n %
Born in AustraliaTotal born in Australia
77.5
102
75.4
Born outside AustraliaaNew Zealand/Pacific Islands
2
76
2.6
North America
0.8
160
0.5
Asia
5.8
74
7.8
Europe (includes UK)
10.2
99
10.3
Middle East
2
117
1.7
Africa
0.6
54
1.1
South/Central America
1.1
157
0.7
Total born outside Australia
22.5
91
24.6
Total (%)
100
Total (No.)
1 877
a  It was not possible to separate the countries into English speaking and non-English speaking, as Europe and the United Kingdom were grouped together.
Notes:  Shaded areas indicate that the IC is greater than 100.
Information about country of birth was missing for an additional 31 (1.6%) inquiries.
Source:  Women’s Information and Referral Service (unpublished data).

Comment
  • Overall, there were fewer inquiries from service users born outside Australia than would be expected given their share of the population. This was not the case for all country groups—of those born outside Australia, North America (IC of 160), South/Central America (IC of 157) and the Middle East (IC of 117) had a higher proportion of inquiries than would be expected given their share of the population.

Country of birth: Legal matter

Table 2-10:  Percentage of inquiries by country of birth and broad area of law
Women’s Information and Referral Service, NSW, 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
Country of birth
Family
%
Crime
%
Domestic violence %
Civil
%
Total
%
Australia
70.6
4.1
9.3
16
100
Outside Australia
63.9
2.8
14.5
18.8
100
All
69
3.8
10.5
16.6
100
Note:  N = 1461. Information about country of birth and area of law was missing for an additional 447 (23%) inquiries.
Source:  Women’s Information and Referral Service (unpublished data).

Comment
  • There was a high proportion of inquiries with no information about country of birth (23%).
  • Both Australian born and non-Australian born service users had a high proportion of inquiries about Family Law issues. However, based on the chi-square examining broad area of law by country of birth, service users who were born outside Australia were more likely than Australian born service users to inquire about domestic violence.

Source of inquiry

Table 2-11:  Source of inquiry
Women's Information and Referral Service, NSW, 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
How found
Inquiries %
Already knew about
10.1
Friend/Family
6.6
Health professional
0.1
Media
0.5
Telephone book
68.5
Publication
4
Internet
0.7
Community organisation
3.3
Local council
0.4
Government
4.5
Other
1.3
Total (%)
100
Total (No.)
200
Note:  Information about source of inquiry was missing for an additional 34 (2%) inquiries.
Source:  Women’s Information and Referral Service NSW (unpublished data).

Comment
  • The telephone book was cited as the most frequently used method of finding the Women's Information and Referral Service (69%). It is unclear, however, whether this indicates prior knowledge of the service.

Country of birth: Source of inquiry

Table 2-12:  Country of birth by source of inquiry
Women's Information and Referral Service, NSW, 4/12/00 to 28/6/02
Source of inquiry
Australia %
Overseas %
Total %
Already knew about
9.4
11.2
9.8
Friend / family
6.2
7.9
6.6
Media
0.4
0.7
0.5
Telephone book
72
58.1
68.9
Publication
3.5
5.7
4
Internet
0.6
1.2
0.8
Health professional
0.1
0
0.1
Community organisation
2.5
5.7
3.2
Local council
0.3
0.7
0.4
Government
4
6.2
4.5
Other
0.9
2.6
1.3
Total (%)
99.9
100
100
Total (No.)
1 441
420
1 861
Note:  Information about how inquirers found out about the service was missing for an additional 47 (3%) inquiries.
Source:  Women’s Information and Referral Service (unpublished data).

Comment
  • Based on the chi-square examining country of birth by source of inquiry, service users who were born outside Australia were more likely than Australian born service users to find out about the service through community organisations, and less likely to find out about the service via the telephone book.


  


CLOSE
Scott, S, Eyland, A , Gray, A, Zhou, A & Coumarelos, C 2004, Data digest, a compendium of services usage data from NSW legal assistance and dispute resolution services 1999-2002, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney, 2004