Justice Access Research Alert No. 80
November 2019
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Children and young people

The Family Matters report 2019: measuring trends to turn the tide on the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in Australia, N Lewis, R Weston, J Burton, J Young, N Jayakody, A Mastroianni, WW Tan, A Parolini, A Shlonsky & C Tilbury, SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, Melbourne, 2019
RESEARCH: This report is a collaborative effort of SNAICC, Griffith University, University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Family Matters campaign – which aims to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040. Among the key findings are that there are 20,421 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care (37.3% of the total out-of-home care population) with the rate being 10.2 times that for non-Indigenous children. The report contains a fold-out Report Card which identifies state and territory trends over a number of indicators. It calls for engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, a national strategy to eliminate over-representation, and comprehensive public data.
Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision: 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2018, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, 2019
STATISTICS: Research shows that children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity and of entering the youth justice system. A better understanding of the characteristics and pathways of children and young people who are both in the child protection system and under youth justice supervision will assist frontline staff and policy makers. Using data from the linked child protection and youth justice supervision data collections, this report found that young people who had been under youth justice supervision were 9 times as likely as the general population to have received child protection services. Indigenous Australians were 17 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterparts to have received both child protection services and youth justice supervision. As more data become available in future years, it will be possible to better analyse the links and pathways between child protection and youth justice supervision over a number of years.

Digital delivery of legal services

Digital justice: HMCTS data strategy and delivering access to justice: report and recommendations, N Byrom, The Legal Education Foundation, London, 2019
RESEARCH: This report by TLEF research director Dr Natalie Byrom sets out a 29-point plan for tackling ‘digital exclusion’, and ensuring the UK government’s £1bn court reform program delivers access to justice for all court users. The report sets out a blueprint for evaluating the impact of the government’s online courts program, and for ensuring the needs of all court users are understood and fully met in the move to digital justice.

Domestic and family violence

Predicting repeat domestic violence: improving police risk assessment, C Dowling & A Morgan, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, 2019 
RESEARCH: This study examines how accurately the Family Violence Risk Assessment Tool (FVRAT) predicts repeat domestic violence. The FVRAT is a 37-item tool used by police in the ACT to inform their responses to domestic violence. This study examines a sample of 350 unique cases of violence involving current or former intimate partners between March and December 2017 in which police used the FVRAT. Repeat domestic violence was measured based on whether a subsequent report of domestic violence was made to police within six months. The study found that the FVRAT is not a strong predictor of repeat domestic violence but an empirically refined version consisting of 10 individually predictive items much more accurately predicts repeat domestic violence.

Elder abuse

See also Older people
Elder abuse national research – strengthening the evidence base: research definition background paper
R Kaspiew, R Carson, B Dow, L Qu, K Hand, D Roopani, L Gahan & D O'Keeffe, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne, 2019
RESEARCH: This background paper presents a definition of elder abuse to support research in Australia, and sets out how it was developed. Each of the five elements that provide the structure of the working definition are also explained. The working definition is intended to be applied in the Elder Abuse National Research Program to inform the development of data collection instruments for an Australian prevalence study. The process involved: a literature review; workshops, focus groups and consultations; and an assessment of international prevalence studies.

Health justice

Joining the dots: 2018 census of the Australian health justice landscape, S Forell & M Nagy, Health Justice Australia, Sydney, 2019
RESEARCH: Health justice partnerships are collaborations that embed legal help into healthcare settings, joining the dots between the legal and social problems that make or keep people unwell. This report is based on responses from legal partners involved in 73 services, and 25 health partners involved in 24 services. It presents data for the 2017-2018 financial year. The reporting is skewed towards a legal service perspective which reflects the fact that in Australia, the health justice partnership movement has been led primarily by the legal sector engaging with the health sector.


See Social disadvantage, Tenancy

Indigenous Australians

Closing the Gap: retrospective reviewMurawin, National Indigenous Australians Agency, Canberra, 2019
RESEARCH: This report presents findings on the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Closing the Gap policy framework and seeks to support a refresh of the Closing the Gap agenda. The findings are based on two components: a review of the qualitative literature from the last 10 years around Closing the Gap; and consultation with approximately 200 stakeholders across Australia via workshops, and individual face-to-face and telephone interviews. Among the findings were that the Closing the Gap approach to monitoring focuses on the needs of government rather than the aspirations of Indigenous Australians, highlighting problems and deficits rather than strengths and opportunities. For the Closing the Gap targets to be met, the report found they need to be the right measurements of the right targets, set by Indigenous leaders and community. Targets need to be Indigenous-led in design to ensure applicability and appropriateness. The Indigenous communities need to have confidence that the targets will make a difference in their lives and therefore need to be specific to the community

Joined-up services

See Health justice

Legal need

Investing in justice: a literature review in support of the case for improved access: a report prepared for the Task Force on Justice, L Moore & TCW Farrow, Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, Toronto, 2019
RESEARCH: The focus of this report is return on investment (ROI) and social return on investment (SROI) research in justice. The authors argue that there is a growing access to justice crisis around the world and that notwithstanding the prevalence of legal problems in everyday life, people do not have adequate access to the justice information, resources and mechanisms that they need to navigate the complexities of law. This gap in access to justice negatively impacts everyone and there are costs for individuals and societies. Complicating this global crisis is a lack of understanding of the nature, extent, costs and potential solutions of and for the access to justice problem. This report examines research on return on investment and social return on investment in justice, and offers insights on the monetary and non-monetary benefits to individuals, investors and the state of making justice more accessible.

Older people

See also Elder abuse

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report: Neglect, Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Canberra, 2019
INQUIRY: The Royal Commission’s two-part Interim Report lays the foundations for the fundamental reform and redesign of Australia’s aged care system. Commissioners Richard Tracey AM, RFD, QC and Lynelle Briggs AO have found that the aged care system fails to meet the needs of our older citizens in the delivery of safe and quality care. The report draws some preliminary conclusions and outlines key areas for our work over the next 12 months. The Final Report will be handed to the Governor-General on 12 November 2020.

Out-of-home care

See Children and young people

Pathways to justice

See Digital delivery of legal services, Legal need


See Social disadvantage

Social disadvantage

Mapping economic disadvantage in New South Wales, Y Vidyattama & R Tanton and NSW Council of Social Service, NATSEM, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA), University of Canberra, 2019
STATISTICS: Commissioned by NCOSS, this report and the accompanying maps provide estimates of significant economic disadvantage, or poverty rates, across NSW by local area and demographic group using the ABS’s Statistical Area 2 (SA2). The report also provides the composition of those in poverty. More than 888,000 people in NSW live below the poverty line (13.3% of the  population). Of all age groups, children are most likely to be living in poverty (more than 1 in 6) and women have higher poverty rates than men. While having a job is not necessarily a guarantee of economic security, the poverty rate among unemployed people is 33.8%.


Vulnerable private renters: evidence and options: research report, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2019
RESEARCH: This report surveys Australia's private rental market, concluding that it works well for most people, most of the time. The market has had to adapt to a fast-growing population as well as to several structural shifts – stemming from rising house prices and declining availability of social housing. The share of the population renting privately has increased since the mid-1980s – more families with children are renting nowadays and for longer periods. The paper examines the experiences of vulnerable people in the private rental market, many of whom struggle with rental affordability. Two-thirds spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent – the commonly used benchmark for identifying 'rental stress' – and many spend much more. There are 170,000 households with less than $250 each week after paying rent. Policies that affect outcomes for vulnerable renters are discussed.

Youth justice

See also Children and young people

Youth on Track randomised controlled trial: process evaluation, Bureau Brief no. 141, L Trimboli, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney 2019
EVALUATION: Youth on Track is an early intervention scheme delivered by Youth Justice NSW. BOCSAR is undertaking a randomised controlled trial to assess whether young people in the Youth on Track scheme have reduced reoffending rates compared with young people who receive a shorter, less intensive intervention. The process evaluation considers whether the randomised controlled trial is being implemented as intended and whether there are any unexpected consequences. Interviews with 52 stakeholders were conducted and available administrative data were analysed. The evaluation found that the process of referral into, and engagement with, the scheme were perceived to be operating well although there were some issues to address including difficulties contacting young people and lack of services/long waiting lists.

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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