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Justice Access Research Alert No. 76
March 2019
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Banking

Final report, Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2019
INQUIRY: The Commission's task was to inquire into, and report on, whether any conduct of financial services entities might have amounted to misconduct and whether any conduct, practices, behaviour or business activities by those entities fell below community standards and expectations. The industry was found to have often broken the law and fallen short of the kind of behaviour the community expects. This final report builds on what has already been learned for each part of the financial services industry and identifies issues, causes and responses and recommendations.
The report makes over 70 recommendations. In particular, the Commission notes the important role the legal assistance sector plays in the financial services sector and calls for the need for predictable and stable funding for the legal assistance sector and financial counselling services.

Child protection

See Mental health
 

Community legal centres

An indicator of need for community legal centres: introducing NLAS(CLC), C Mirrlees-Black, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney, 2019
RESEARCH: Community legal centres (CLCs) are not-for-profit organisations that provide legal information and advice to the public and more intensive assistance to those people who qualify. Following a review of CLCs by Alan Cameron AO, in August 2018 the NSW government announced that it was adopting an application-based funding model and supporting this process through the provision of legal needs analysis undertaken by the Foundation.
In response, the Foundation developed a new Need for Legal Assistance Services indicator called NLAS(CLC) to provide evidence of how need for legal assistance services may be distributed across the state. The NLAS(CLC) indicator extends the original set of indicators developed by the Foundation to support the 2015 National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services. The 2018 Collaborative Planning Resource comprises five indicators: NLAS(Capability), NLAS(ATSI), NLAS(CALD), NLAS(65+) and NLAS($52K).
 

Courts

See Domestic and family violence

Criminal justice system

See Prisoners
 

Domestic and family violence

Assessing the risk of repeat intimate partner assault, S Rahman, Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice Number 220, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, 2018
RESEARCH: This paper identifies factors associated with the risk of experiencing repeat intimate partner (IPV) assault by analysing data from a subset of 336 individuals who reported experiencing IPV in the 12 months prior to participating in the ABS Personal Safety Survey 2016, of which 145 (43.2%) experienced repeat victimisation involving assault. Using population-weighted logistic regression models, the likelihood of experiencing repeat IPV involving assault in the 12 months prior to survey response was estimated. The best population-weighted logistic regression model indicated that the experience of emotional abuse in the most recent 12 months, socioeconomic disadvantage and remoteness of a person’s area of residence, low educational attainment and disability status were factors that significantly correlate with experience of repeat IPV assault. The study then found that the experience of emotional abuse and sociodemographic factors of victims could potentially be useful factors for inclusion in risk assessment tools to identify victims at risk of repeat IPV.
 
‘What’s Your Plan?’ process evaluation, P Nelson, Crime and Justice Statistics Bureau Brief: Issues paper no. 138, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, 2018
EVALUATION: The aim was to determine whether the ‘What’s Your Plan’ (WYP) program was implemented as intended and to identify the barriers as well as the facilitators to implementation. WYP is a program designed to increase compliance with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders among Aboriginal defendants, delivered by Aboriginal Client and Community Support Officers (ACCSOs) in the Local Court. Implementation in 45 courts between October 2017 to April 2018 was reviewed. Data on the activity in treatment weeks where WYP was offered and comparison weeks where WYP was not offered was extracted and supplemented with interviews with delivery staff, supervisors and stakeholders, as well as court observations and documentation. The results show that 76% of eligible defendants were offered WYP and 28% completed the WYP session. The key facilitator of intended implementation was the enthusiasm of ACCSOs and management about participating in WYP. The main barrier was the narrow window of time in which ACCSOs had to locate and deliver WYP with voluntary participants, while managing competing demands from other clients. An outcome evaluation will be completed later.

Financial rights

See Banking
 

Indigenous Australians

See Domestic and family violence
 

Legal aid

See Representation and courts
 

Legal need

See Community legal centres
 

Legal services

See Representation and courts

Mental health

The social and economic benefits of improving mental health: issues paper, Productivity Commission, Australian Government, Canberra, 2019
INQUIRY: This issues paper is to help people who want participate in the inquiry into the role of improving mental health to support economic participation and enhancing productivity and economic growth. The paper outlines the scope of the inquiry, matters about which the Productivity Commission is seeking comment and information, and how views on the terms of reference and the matters raised within the paper can be shared. In the paper, the area of justice and child protection has been raised as one of the contributing components to improving mental health and wellbeing. The issues paper raises several questions for comment on justice and child protection, including what mental health supports earlier in life are most effective in reducing contact with the justice system, where the gaps in mental health services for people in the justice system including while incarcerated are located, and what, if any, alternative approaches to child protection would achieve better mental health outcomes. Initial submissions are due by Friday 5 April 2019.
 

Prisoners

Inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism: draft report, Queensland Productivity Commission, Brisbane, 2019
INQUIRY: In the context of declining crime rates, a growing prison population and the associated financial and social costs of imprisonment, the Queensland Productivity Commission is conducting an inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism in Queensland. This draft report provides an opportunity for consultation on issues which have been raised by the inquiry. Reflecting the contributions of over 400 stakeholders, this report highlights questions such as whether there are more effective ways of dealing with offending, breaking the cycle of re-offending, reducing interactions with the criminal justice system and building a better decision-making architecture. The overarching question raised is whether community safety is best served by continuing the current approach. Individuals, businesses and organisations are invited to make submissions by 17 April 2019. The final report will be released in August 2019.
 
New South Wales Custody Statistics: Quarterly Update December 2018, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, 2018
STATISTICS: Figures released by BOCSAR show that the NSW prison population is continuing to show signs of decline. The data shows that the number of adult prisoners in custody decreased between September 2018 and December 2018 (13,165), driven by a recent decrease in the number of sentenced prisoners, which decreased 6 per cent since June 2018 when it was at its peak. The number of defendants remanded in custody in the December quarter was 4,586. Little growth is forecast by BOCSAR in the adult prison population over the next 12 months. The data also shows that, compared to December 2017, the juvenile custody population was slightly lower with 261 juvenile prisoners.

Pro bono legal services

Report on the Sixth National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey, Australian Pro Bono Centre, Sydney, 2019
RESEARCH: Part of a longitudinal study, there were 62 firms eligible to participate in the 2018 survey and 37 responded. The results indicate an increasing commitment to pro bono legal practice by the largest law firms in Australia, focusing on a range of disadvantaged groups such as asylum seekers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the homeless. Pro bono staff have increased, more full-time pro bono managers/coordinators have been appointed and more firms are setting operational budgets for pro bono programs and evaluating their programs. Despite a greater recognition of pro bono work within firms, the survey found a declining trend in firms providing full billable hour credit for pro bono work.

Representation and courts

The impact of private versus public legal representation on criminal proceedings, EJ Ooi, S Poynton & D Weatherburn, Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice Number 221, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, 2019
RESEARCH: The aim of this research was to investigate the impact of publicly funded legal representation compared to in-house legal representation on indictable criminal proceedings. To do this, BOCSAR obtained data from Legal Aid NSW on every indictable criminal law grant of aid in NSW between 2012 and 2016. Legal Aid NSW assigns criminal law cases to either a private or in-house defence lawyer. This data was then linked to BOCSAR’s criminal courts database containing information including defendant characteristics and prior offending history. Focusing on indictable offences, BOCSAR compares the probability that cases assigned to private or in-house lawyers are dealt with summarily, are committed for sentencing or result in a late guilty plea.
 

Service planning

See Community legal centres
 

Statistics

See Prisoners
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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 lf@lawfoundation.net.au 
© Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, 2019.
Justice Access Research Alert is a bimonthly newsletter. Please feel free to pass this email on to others who may wish to subscribe.

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