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Research Report: Data Digest LawAccess 2002-2004 Report
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Data Digest LawAccess 2002-2004 Report  ( 2007 )  Cite this report

LawAccess NSW 2002-2004



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Demographic characteristics of service users


Gender

Table 5: Percentage of inquiries by gender and service (Information and Advice)
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004

Gender

Information
%

Advice
%

Total
%

IC
NSW Pop.
(2001 Census)
%
Male
37.2
40.8
37.6
76
49.4
Female
62.8
59.2
62.4
123
50.6
Total (%)
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Total (No.)
219 582
33 354
252 936
Notes: Shaded areas indicate that the Index of Concentration (IC) is greater than 100.
N=252 936. An additional 143 records were missing gender. Prior to 2003, LawAccess recorded
a default value of female where the gender of the inquirer was not identified
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data) and Australian Bureau of Statistics SEIFA 2001
population statistics.



  • Females were the main users of LawAccess NSW (Table 5), making significantly more inquiries than expected given their share in the NSW population.
  • However, a significantly higher proportion of Advice inquiries involved men when compared with the proportion of men making Information inquiries.

Trends in inquiries by gender
  • Figure 3 indicates that there has been a slight drop in the proportion of inquiries being made by females. However, it should be noted that prior to 2003 LawAccess NSW recorded a default value (female) where gender was not identified. This would have resulted in an inflated Index of Concentration value for females in 2002.

Figure 3: Index of concentration of inquiries by gender and year
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004

Notes
: N=252 936. An additional 143 records were missing gender. In 2002, LawAccess recorded a default value of female where
the gender of the inquirer was not identified
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data) and Australian Bureau of Statistics SEIFA 2001 population statistics.

Type of legal matter by gender

  • The breakdown of inquiries by broad area of law for men and women was:
    • Men: Family (25%), Crime (18%), Civil (57%)
    • Women: Family (33%), Crime (11%), Civil (56%)
  • Men and women made roughly the same proportion of civil law inquiries, but men made significantly fewer family law and significantly more criminal law inquiries than women.
  • Table 6 shows for men and women separately the top 5 specific areas of law (ranked in order of frequency of inquiries) to LawAccess NSW in the period 2002 to 2004.
  • Four specific areas of law — namely, children (family law), criminal offences (criminal law), credit/debt and housing (civil law) — appear in the top 5 list for both men's and women's inquiries.
  • Criminal offences (criminal law) and children (family law) comprised the top 2 inquiries for both men and women, although not in the same order.

Table 6: Top five specific area of law inquiries by gender
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004
GenderSpecific area of law
%
MaleCriminal offences
16.7
Children
11.4
Credit/Debt
8.9
Employment
8.5
Housing
8.5
FemaleChildren
14.8
Criminal offences
10.3
Relationships
9.3
Housing
8.9
Credit/Debt
7.7
Notes: N=252 936. An additional 143 records were missing gender.
In 2002, LawAccess recorded a default value of female where the
gender of the inquirer was not identified
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data).


  • Figure 4 presents a breakdown of legal inquiries by gender with regard to specific area of law. It shows that:
    • women made a significantly higher proportion of family law inquiries than men, and this was the case across all four specific categories of family law (i.e. children, domestic violence, financial matters and relationships)
    • the other specific law categories where women made a significantly higher proportion of inquiries than men were civil law inquiries relating to health, housing and wills/estates
    • men made a significantly higher proportion of criminal law inquiries than women, and this was the case across all three specific categories of criminal law (i.e. offences, criminal processes and victims of crime)
    • men also made a significantly higher proportion of inquiries in the civil law areas of accidents, injury & liability, business/media, consumers, credit/debt, employment, government, immigration/refugees and the legal system.

Figure 4: Percentage of inquiries by gender and specific area of law
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004

Notes
: N=252 936. An additional 143 records were missing gender. In 2002, LawAccess recorded a default value of female where
the gender of the inquirer was not identified
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data)

  


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Cain, M 2007, Data digest reports, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney