Indigenous people’s experience of multiple legal problems and multiple disadvantage - a working paper

Courts Poverty Australia

This paper explores differences in the experience of legal problems by Indigenous status.

Abstract: The Legal Australia-Wide (LAW) Survey found that Indigenous people who experience legal problems had an increased likelihood of experiencing multiple legal problems. New analyses using the LAW Survey national dataset show that compared to others, Indigenous people have higher vulnerability to particular types of legal problems, multiple legal problems and multiple substantial legal problems. Certain Indigenous subpopulations were found to experience an even higher number of legal problems and substantial legal problems. Compared to others, Indigenous people were also found to be more disadvantaged according to several indicators of disadvantage. Indigenous respondents were found to have a higher level of multiple disadvantage, and Indigenous background was found to heighten vulnerability to multiple legal problems independent of age, gender and level of disadvantage. Multiple disadvantage was found to have a ‘compounding’ effect on vulnerability to multiple legal problems and multiple substantial legal problems that appears to be stronger for Indigenous people than for others. These findings highlight the need to further consider how legal services can be better tailored to the legal needs of Indigenous people, and particularly those Indigenous subpopulations with heightened vulnerability to multiple legal problems.

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