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Indigenous women's access to Legal Aid Queensland 

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Legal advice

During the period 2005-06 a total of 1,947 legal advices were provided to Indigenous people. This represents 3.9% of the total legal advices provided to clients.

Indigenous women were provided with a total of 996 legal advices representing 51.15 % of all legal advices to Indigenous people. This is comparable to the previous year (see Table 5).

Indigenous women sought legal advice in the following areas of law:

Family 380 (38%)
Civil 465 (47%)
Criminal 151 (15%)
Total 996 (100%)

Legal advice provided to Indigenous women constitutes 3.95% of the advices given to women by Legal Aid Queensland. This is a slight decrease from the previous year. However this figure is considerably lower than the benchmark for Indigenous women which is 5%.

As in the previous year this figure can be considered positive given that Indigenous women make up 3.5% of the female population9. However the issue of access for this group of women remains a concern if we consider the disadvantage experienced by Indigenous women in the legal system.

Legal advices for Indigenous women in the family law area made up a 2.8% of all family law advices provided to women, whilst in civil law area they received 5.8% of the civil legal advices provided to women. This means that the percentage of women receiving legal advice in the family law area is well below the benchmark (5%) and slightly higher than the benchmark (5%) in civil law area. Whilst in the criminal law area women received 4% of the total legal advices provided to women in this area.

Applications for legal aid for Indigenous women

During 2005-06 3,624 applications for aid were received from Indigenous people (see Table 5A). This represents 9% of the total number of applications received during this period. This figure is higher than the overall benchmark for Indigenous people (7%)

Indigenous women made 1,192 of the applications for legal aid or 32.89% of the total number of applications for aid made by Indigenous people.

The following are the areas of law in which Indigenous women applied for legal aid:

Family 452 (38%)
Civil 250 (21%)
Criminal 490 (41%)
Total 1,192 (100%)

In comparison Indigenous men applied for legal aid in the following areas:

Family 217 (9%)
Civil 118 (5%)
Criminal 2,097 (86%)
Total 2,432 (100%)

During 2005-06 there has been a decrease in the numbers of Indigenous women and men applying for aid in all areas of law in comparison to the previous year, which is consistent with the decrease in the total number of applications overall.

Indigenous women represent 8.1% of the total number of all applications for aid made by women. This means that this figure is well above than the benchmark for Indigenous women which is 5%. This figure may be affected by slightly higher percentage of applications for aid made by Indigenous women for criminal matters (11.56%) and civil matters (8.60%) compared to all applications for aid made by women in these areas of law.

From the total applications made by Indigenous clients for a grant of aid in criminal law matters, Indigenous women represented (18.9%) compared to the total number of applications made by non-Indigenous clients where non-Indigenous women represented (19.04%).

Approvals for grants of legal aid for Indigenous women

Approvals for Indigenous people show that of the 3,624 applications, 3,140 Indigenous people were granted legal aid in the last financial year. This is a rate of 86.64% overall, and is a slight decrease from last year.

956 Indigenous women were granted legal aid and 2,184 Indigenous men were granted legal aid. The rate applications made by Indigenous women were granted aid was 80.20% compared to the overall rate for women of 70.99%.

As in the previous year the rate of applications made by Indigenous women that were granted aid is significantly higher than the overall average. Out of 490 applications for criminal law matters 457 were approved which is a rate of 93.26%, while 75.6% of applications for aid for civil law matters were approved but just over 68.58% of applications for family law matters were approved. The rate for family law matters being approved is below the benchmark of 75%. Legal Aid Queensland will continue to monitor the number of applications approved for family law matters for this target group, particularly as there has been policy changes for grants officers.

Indigenous women represent 3.17% of approvals made for people overall. This is consistent with the benchmark for Indigenous women against women and men overall.

On the other hand, Indigenous women represent 9% of approvals made for women overall. This figure is higher than the benchmark for Indigenous women which is 5%.

9 data provided by Queensland Treasury based on ABS data June 2001


Last modified: 17 February 2010 1:35PM
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Indigenous women's access to Legal Aid Queensland