New research on legal aid services highlights child protection and family violence

New research on legal aid services highlights child protection and family violence

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Recently released research on legal aid services highlights family violence and child protection as common problems for legal aid clients, often occurring alongside other problems.

The research analyses ten-years of client data, from 2006 to 2016. During that time, Victoria Legal Aid provided 1.5 million services to 443,000 clients. 

It looks at the key characteristics of people who use legal aid, the prevalence of legal problems that happen alongside each other, and the frequency of use of legal aid services, including by those who use the most expensive services.

While family violence is the most common legal aid service we provide overall, for young people and people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background it is child protection.

Child protection applications made up 22 per cent of services for young people, 9 per cent of services to people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, and 4 per cent of services for all clients.

Child protection applications made up 22 per cent of services for young people, 9 per cent of services to people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, and 4 per cent of services for all clients.

The most common co-occurring legal problems for young people are child protection with assault, family violence, and burglary.

For people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background they are child protection with family violence and assault; and burglary with theft.

Read the research

Read the full research report produced with Analytics for Change at Client profiles: analysis of 2006–16

Other research findings

Other findings include:

  • One fifth of our clients will experience legal problems in more than one area of law. The most common crossover category were clients who needed help from both our family and criminal law programs. Some clients also had civil legal problems alongside either family or criminal problems.
  • Around three out of ten young people and people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background go on to use many of our services each year after they first are in contact with us. This compares with only one out of ten becoming a high-cost or service intensive client across all client groups.
  • More services were provided to clients with a disability with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island background (25 per cent) and among high-cost users (23 per cent) than the general client population (13 per cent).