Justice Access Research Alert No. 78
July 2019


See Criminal justice system

Children and young people

Youth justice in Australia 2017–18, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, 2019 
STATISTICS: This report provides data on the number of young people in Australia who were under youth justice supervision (both in the community and in detention) during 2017–18. Data in this report is based on data from the Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set for all states and territories. Key findings include that of the 5,513 young people under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2017–18, the majority were male (81%) and supervised in the community (83%).
There was variation among the states and territories for the overall rates of supervision, from 12 per 10,000 in Victoria to 59 per 10,000 in the Northern Territory. Over the five years between 2013-14 to 2017-18, supervision fell for community-based supervision, but rose for detention. Indigenous over-representation also continued to rise with half (49%) of young people under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2017-18 were Indigenous, compared to only about 5% of young people aged between 10-17 years in Australia who are Indigenous. 

Criminal justice system

See also Children and young people

The marginal effect of bail decisions on imprisonment, failure to appear, and crime, S Rahman, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), 2019
RESEARCH: The aim of this paper is to estimate the effect of bail decisions on the likelihood of receiving a prison sentence, failure to appear and offending on bail. The paper used a dataset of 42,362 first bail hearings taking place after the ‘show cause’ amendments to the Bail Act (2013) which was constructed and linked to final case outcomes and offending data. The results show the marginal effect of additional releases is an increase in the rate of offending from 13.2% to 29.2%, a decrease in the rate of imprisonment from 59.0% to 49.0% and an increase in the rate of failure to appear from 2.1% to 11.1% for those defendants. Therefore, remanding 10 additional defendants increases the number imprisoned by one, and reduces the number of offending and failing to appear by 1.6% and 0.9% on average. The results show that bail refusal has a significant incapacitation effect on crime and failure to appear. These benefits should, however, be considered alongside the considerable cost to the correctional system and the individual arising from increased imprisonment rates.

Domestic and family violence

Change the story – three years on, Reflections on uptake and impact, lessons learned and Our Watch’s ongoing work to embed and expand the evidence on prevention, Our Watch, Melbourne, Victoria, 2019
RESEARCH: This report is an interim review of Change the story: a shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia, which was published in 2015. It provides a review of the uptake of, and response to the framework by policy makers, practitioners and others across Australia. The report also considers the lessons learned and describes ongoing work to implement and build on the framework. The evaluative work undertaken as part of this review by Our Watch, which includes the analysis of Australian government policies related to violence against women since 2015, is outlined.The report also provides information about Change the story training delivery and stakeholders surveys completed in 2017 and 2018.
Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019
RESEARCH: This report draws on a large range of national data sources which monitor family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, presenting new information on vulnerable groups. It examines elder abuse in the context of family, domestic and sexual violence, and includes new data on telephone and web-based support services, community attitudes, sexual harassment and stalking. The latest data on homicides, child protection, hospitals and specialist homelessness services is presented. Legal responses in both the civil and criminal jurisdictions of each state and territory to family, domestic and sexual violence are examined. The report identifies various data gaps which could strengthen the evidence base and support the reduction and prevention of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia if filled.
Quantifying the legal and broader life impacts of domestic and family violence, C Coumarelos, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney, 2019
RESEARCH: This paper provides the first quantitative assessment based on representative Australian population data of the legal and related problems that often coincide with domestic and family violence (DFV). Regression and bivariate analyses of the Legal Australia-Wide (LAW) Survey underlined the serious nature of DFV victimisation and revealed the gamut of severe legal problems and adverse life impacts that often result from, or accompany, DFV.
The results show that DFV is linked to a myriad of legal problems and they have adverse impacts on broad life circumstances including stress-related illness, physical ill health, relationship breakdown and financial strain. These findings demonstrating the ‘compounding effect’ of DFV victimisation on legal and human service needs, together with the relatively disadvantaged profile of people experiencing DFV, reinforce the importance of accessible public legal assistance services for DFV remaining a government policy priority. Holistic, joined-up legal and broader human services are often necessary to address the complex legal and related needs of people experiencing DFV. 
See infographic | See information sheet 

Elder abuse

See also Domestic and family violence

Elder abuse: key issues and emerging evidence, A Dean, Child Family Community Australia & Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019
RESEARCH: This paper reviews recent theoretical literature on elder abuse and draws on recent empirical research. Discussion focuses on key issues involved in the definition of elder abuse, and examines the prevalence, impact and associated risk factors of elder abuse with a focus on the implications of recent research on policy and practice. Key messages from this paper include that elder abuse is a complex phenomenon that takes many forms, including physical, psychological, sexual and financial abuse and neglect. Research indicates that a range of factors contribute to older people’s risk of abuse and neglect, and emerging evidence suggests that social isolation and poor-quality relationships are among the main risk factors associated with elder abuse in community settings. The paper notes that further research and evaluation on specific prevention and intervention strategies are needed to give a clearer understanding of what works to protect older Australians from elder abuse.


See also Prisoners

The changing geography of homelessness: a spatial analysis from 2001 to 2016, S Parkinson, et al., Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, 2019
ANALYSIS: This study examines the changing geography of homelessness in Australia and provides a comprehensive descriptive and spatial modelling analysis of the incidence of homelessness. Drawing on a pooled panel dataset of the 2001–2016 Census Homelessness Estimates, the ABS Time Series Profile dataset and AIHW Specialist Homelessness Service Collection (SHSC) data, it outlines the extent to which homelessness has become more spatially concentrated over time; where it has risen and fallen; and the importance that housing affordability, poverty and labour market opportunities play in reshaping its distribution. One of the key findings is that there is a mismatch between the distribution of homelessness and Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) capacity, with the mismatch being most apparent in the areas where Indigenous people are living in overcrowded dwellings.


Social housing legal responses to crime and anti-social behaviour: impacts on vulnerable families, C Martin, et al., Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, 2019
RESEARCH: This research focused on social housing legal responses and termination proceedings in relation to four types of vulnerable persons and families: women (particularly as affected by domestic violence and other male misconduct), children, Indigenous persons and families, and persons who use alcohol and other drugs. This study comprises a review of the available quantitative data about social housing termination proceedings; a review of high-level policy principles and frameworks regarding women affected by domestic violence, children, Indigenous people, and alcohol and other drug users; and a review of the law and social housing policies regarding misconduct by tenants and occupiers. Social housing legal proceedings were analysed along with 11 stakeholder interviews. Issues identified include: women being held to be in breach and evicted because of violence against them; barriers to support for Indigenous tenants; and alcohol and drug treatment being disrupted by punitive termination proceedings. Options include tenancy law reform and closer integration of social housing policy with other policy areas.

Joined-up services

See Domestic and family violence, Prisoners

Juvenile justice

See Children and young people

Legal need

See also Domestic and family violence

Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice, Open Society Justice Initiative & Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2019
FRAMEWORK: This Guide brings together the experience gained through over 55 national surveys conducted by governments and civil society organisations in more than 30 jurisdictions in the last 25 years. It provides a framework for understanding and measuring legal needs and offers methodological guidance and model questions to capture three core components of effective access to justice, the nature and extent of unmet legal and justice needs, the impact of unmet legal and justice needs on individuals, the community and the state, and how specific models of legal assistance and dispute resolution are utilised to meet needs. The Guide also puts forward the concept of a legal needs-based indicator that focuses on access to civil justice. The aim is to support countries in better understanding, measuring and evaluating their progress in implemented legal and justice services that are people-centred.

Older people

See Elder abuse


The health of Australia’s prisoners 2018, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019
RESEARCH: This report presents the results of the 5th National Prisoner Health Data Collection (NPHDC) conducted in 2018. It presents information about the health experiences of people throughout the prison cycle – from entry, to time spent in prison, to discharge, and to after release. The report covers a range of factors including socioeconomic factors, mental health and self-harm, physical health, disability, risk behaviours, health services and deaths. Less than one in four people discharged from prison has paid employment organised to start within two weeks of release and over half expect to be homeless once released. The report highlights the need for continued research on the health of prisoners as this impacts on services such as specialist employment and homeless services in Australia.


See Criminal justice system

Social housing

See Housing


See Domestic and family violence

About this newsletter

JARA is a free email alert service covering recent research in the area of access to justice and legal need. JARA entries are publications identified by Foundation staff rather than the product of a systematic search or review. Foundation staff have produced the summaries based on the original publications. The summaries do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors or the Law and Justice Foundation. Your feedback is important to us. If you have any comments or suggestions please email us at
© Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, 2019.
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