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4720.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: Users' Guide, 2008  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2010   
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LIFE EXPERIENCES


OVERVIEW

This chapter provides information on the following topics collected in the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS):



POSITIVE LIFE EVENTS - CHILD

The 2008 NATSISS collected information on positive experiences a child may have had. Proxies of selected children aged 4-14 years were asked if at any time in the 12 months prior to interview the child had any of the following positive experiences. Response categories included:
  • had positive contact with the police (or any law enforcement officers);
  • came top of the class in something at school;
  • received an award, prize or other formal recognition of achievement;
  • went on a holiday or trip away with family or other people; or
  • none of the above.

More than one response was allowed. People may have also chosen not to answer these questions.


Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

This information was not collected in the 2002 NATSISS.


CHILD CARE

The 2008 NATSISS collected information on both:
Questions about child care were asked of proxies for selected children aged 0-12 years.


Formal child care

Formal child care is regulated care away from the child's home, which parents/guardians normally must pay for. Information was collected on the use of, demand for, and barriers to accessing formal child care. Proxies of selected children aged 0-12 years were asked if the child used any of the following types of formal child care in the week prior to interview. More than one response could be provided. The list of response categories included:
  • before and/or after school care;
  • long day care centres;
  • family day care (excluding friends or relatives who care for a child on a regular but informal basis);
  • occasional care centres;
  • other non-home centres whose primary function is care of children (excluding vacation care);
  • no formal child care used in the last week; and
  • no formal child care available.

If formal child care had been used in the week prior to interview, the number of days and hours of attendance were recorded. If the number of hours attended in the week prior to interview was different to the number of hours per week the child usually attended formal child care, the usual number of hours was also recorded.

If the proxy responded that no formal child care was used in the week prior to interview, they were asked if it was usual for the child not to attend any formal child care during the week. If the child usually attended some type of formal child care during the week, the usual number of hours per week was recorded.

For all children who attended formal child care, including those who did not attend in the week prior to interview but who usually attended, the main reason for doing so was collected. Response categories included:
  • parental work commitments;
  • parental study commitments;
  • parent looking for work;
  • parental sport, shopping, social, volunteer or community activities;
  • to give parent a break or time alone;
  • so parent can attend to own, partner's or relative's health needs;
  • a good way to prepare child for school;
  • good for child's intellectual or language development;
  • good for child's social development to mix with other children of same age; and
  • other reason.

For children who did not usually attend formal child care, and for those who had no formal child care available, the proxy was asked if the child required formal child care and how many hours per week were required. For all other children aged 0-12 years the proxy was asked if the child required more formal child care and the number of additional hours per week required.

The proxies of children aged 0-12 years were also asked the main reason (more) formal child care wasn't used. Response categories included:
  • parent not working so able to look after child;
  • child too young/old;
  • transport/distance;
  • cost/too expensive;
  • prefer other type of care;
  • time/days available not suitable;
  • child's preference;
  • child has special needs;
  • parent(s) unhappy with service/carers;
  • not yet applied;
  • child is on a waiting list to attend;
  • formal child care available isn't Indigenous specific;
  • no formal child care service available;
  • booked out/not enough places;
  • made other arrangements;
  • child is able to look after themselves; and
  • other reason.

The category 'parent not working so able to look after child' includes parents who work, but when they are not working (eg in the evening or during non-working hours for parents employed part-time) they are able to look after their child. The category 'other reason' includes people who identified that they don't want or don't need child care, or that they have sufficient care available for their child.

Proxies were also asked whether there was a preference for the child to use formal child care services run for and by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. The response categories were:
  • prefer Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander care;
  • prefer mainstream care; and
  • don't care either way.

If the proxy's response to the main reason the child did not use (more) formal child care was 'formal child care available isn't Indigenous specific', they were not asked this question and the child's response was automatically recorded as 'prefer Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander care'.


Informal child care

The 2008 NATSISS collected information on the types of informal child care used by children aged 0-14 years and the pattern of usage. Informal child care includes:
  • any person, other than the child's main carer/s, who looked after the child; and
  • organisations, other than formal child care organisations, who provided care.

Proxies were first asked about types of informal child care used in the week prior to interview and then about types of informal child care usually used. For each question, more than one response was allowed. Response categories included:
  • mother living elsewhere;
  • father living elsewhere;
  • grandparent;
  • child's brother or sister;
  • other relative;
  • family friend;
  • babysitter;
  • nanny;
  • neighbour;
  • any other person;
  • an organisation (other than formal care organisations);
  • child looked after self; and
  • no-one.

If the only response provided was that the child looked after self, then they were not considered to have used informal care. However, if this response and at least one other type of arrangement was used, then the proxy was asked about their frequency of use. For children who usually used informal child care, the frequency of use was collected, based on the following:
  • daily;
  • three to four times a week;
  • twice a week;
  • once a week;
  • less often; and
  • not known.


Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

Limited information on child care was collected in the 2002 NATSISS. Information was provided by the household spokesperson, for households which had children aged 0-12 years. Information collected relates to the 4 weeks prior to interview and includes whether child care was used; the types of child care used; requirements for (more) formal child care; main reason for not wanting (more) formal child care; and main reason for not using (more) formal child care.

The 2002 data is not comparable with the 2008 data. In 2002 child care data relates to people with main caring responsibilities for children aged 12 years or less. In 2008 child care data relates to children aged 12 years or less.

More detailed information on the 2002 survey data is provided in the output data item list, available from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: Data Reference Package, 2002 (cat. no. 4714.0.55.002).


STRESSORS

The 2008 NATSISS collected information on events which occurred in the 12 months prior to interview, that may have caused stress for the respondent or for their family and/or friends. The information was collected separately for children and adults. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, people could choose not to answer these questions.


Adult stressors

People aged 15 years and over were asked which of the following things had been a problem for them, their family or close friends in the 12 months prior to interview. Response categories included:

Health problems
  • really bad illness;
  • really bad accident;
  • mental illness;
  • really bad disability;

Family changes
  • getting married/marriage;
  • pregnancy;
  • new family member;
  • overcrowding at home;
  • getting back together with a spouse;
  • divorce or separation;
  • death of a family member or close friend;

Work problems
  • not able to get a job;
  • lost job, made redundant, sacked, retired;
  • started a new job or changed job;

Other problems
  • pressure to fulfil cultural responsibilities;
  • alcohol related problems;
  • drug related problems;
  • gambling problems;
  • witness to violence;
  • abuse or violent crime;
  • you, a family member or close friend spent time in gaol;
  • trouble with the police;
  • treated badly because Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander;
  • unwelcome at child's school; and
  • none of these.

More than one response was allowed. People who selected one or more of these things as being a problem, or stressor, were asked which of these things were a problem for them personally. The number of problems was output numerically as a value ranging from 1 to 24. A not applicable or not known response may have been recorded.

People who personally experienced any of the stressors, were asked what would help to get them through these difficult times, based on the following:
  • talk to a family member;
  • talk to a friend;
  • see a doctor;
  • see a counsellor; and
  • other help.

More than one response was allowed.


Child stressors

For children aged 0-14 years, information was collected on events which occurred in the 12 months prior to interview, that may have caused stress for the child or disrupted their living arrangements. Proxies were asked if children had experienced any of the following situations:
  • had nothing fun to do (only asked of children aged 4-14 years);
  • got in trouble with the police (only asked of children aged 4-14 years);
  • had problems keeping up with school work (only asked of children aged 4-14 years);
  • had a really bad illness;
  • had a really bad accident;
  • was saved from an almost serious injury/accident/illness;
  • scared or upset by an argument or someone's behaviour;
  • was physically hurt by someone;
  • a family friend/family member had alcohol related problems;
  • a family friend/family member had drug related problems;
  • a new baby was born into the household;
  • death of a close family friend/family member;
  • parent in prison;
  • another family member in prison;
  • member of family arrested or in trouble with the police; and
  • none of the above.

More than one response was allowed.

In addition to asking about stressful events which may have occurred, proxies were asked whether children aged 4-14 years needed to stay somewhere else, or be looked after by someone else, due to a family crisis or behavioural problems. Proxies were asked if at any time in the 6 months prior to interview, the child needed to stay overnight somewhere else (excluding sleepovers at friends houses, school or other organisation sleepovers/camps, staying at a parents house where there is a shared custody arrangement or staying somewhere else on a holiday or visit).

Proxies were also asked if at any time in the 12 months prior to interview, the child had to be looked after by someone away from home for more than a week. If so, they were asked to provide all of the reasons why the child was looked after by other people. Response categories included:
  • overcrowding at home;
  • family conflict;
  • breakdown of marriage/relationship;
  • financial difficulties at home;
  • sorry business;
  • child behaviour/ran away from home;
  • other reason; and
  • not known.

More than one response was allowed.

Proxies of all children aged 0-14 years were asked if at any time in the 12 months prior to interview they, or any other adult living in the household, had to look after another child, who normally lives somewhere else, for more than a week.


Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

In 2002, information was collected on the types of stressors experienced by selected persons aged 15 years and over, or by their family or friends, in the 12 months prior to interview. The following response categories were included in 2008, but not in 2002:
  • getting married/marriage;
  • pregnancy;
  • new family member;
  • getting back together with a spouse;
  • started a new job or changed job; and
  • unwelcome at child's school.

In addition to these extra categories, some of the categories were modified for 2008. Alcohol or drug related problems were grouped together in 2002, and collected separately in 2008; discrimination/racism in 2002, changed to treated badly because Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander in 2008; and member of family sent to gaol/currently in gaol in 2002, was amended to you, a family member or close friend spent time in gaol.


REMOVAL

People aged 15 years and over were asked about whether they, or any relatives have ever been removed or taken away from their natural family, and whether they knew about/used any of the services that are available to help people find/contact relatives. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, people could chose not to answer these questions.

People were asked if they or any of their relatives had been removed from their family by welfare or the government, or taken away to a mission (excluding people who were removed from their family for less than 6 months). If any relatives had been removed, people were asked which relatives had been removed. More than one response was allowed.

Response categories included:
  • your child(ren);
  • your brothers and/or sisters (including half/step brothers and sister);
  • your parents(including step-parents);
  • your (great-) grandparents;
  • your aunties and/or uncles;
  • your cousins;
  • your neices and/or nephews;
  • other relatives; and
  • don't know who.

People who had been removed from their natural family were then asked if they had seen any of their relatives since they had been removed. People who had seen relatives since they had been removed were asked if they had used a service to find or make contact with each other. People who had not seen relatives since they were removed were asked if they knew of any of the services available that could help with finding and contacting relatives.


Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

In 2002, selected persons aged 15 years and over were asked whether they or any of their relatives had been taken away from their natural family by a mission, the government or welfare, and which relatives had been taken away. People were not asked whether they had seen any of their relatives since being removed, or if they knew of/used any services to find/contact relatives.


BARRIERS TO SERVICE PROVIDERS

Barriers to service providers include any problems people may have had getting to a service and any reasons why people may not have gone to/used a service when they needed to. People aged 15 years and over were asked if they found it hard to get to any of the following services, or if they had any other problems with accessing these services. More than one response was allowed.

Response categories included:
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health services;
  • dentists;
  • doctors;
  • other health workers;
  • hospitals;
  • legal services;
  • employment services;
  • phone companies;
  • Centrelink;
  • banks and other financial institutions;
  • Medicare;
  • mental health services;
  • other services; and
  • no problems (includes people who did not have problems getting to or accessing services as well as people who did not need to access any services).

People who reported having problems getting to or accessing one or more services were asked to identify the problems they had for each service. More than one response was allowed.

Response categories included:
  • transport/distance;
  • cost of service;
  • no services in your area;
  • not enough services in your area;
  • waiting time too long or not available at time required;
  • service not culturally appropriate;
  • don't trust service;
  • treated badly because Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; and
  • other problems.

The barriers information is available on two different levels:
The information available on the selected persons level includes:
  • whether has problems accessing selected services;
  • number of selected services has problems accessing; and
  • type of barrier to accessing any services.

At this level, the type of barrier to accessing services relates to all problems a person had accessing services, regardless of the service. Data refers to the number of people who experienced each barrier, therefore each barrier may only be recorded once per person.

The information available on the barriers level includes:
  • types of selected services has problems accessing; and
  • barriers accessing service providers.

At this level, the barriers to accessing services relates to all instances where a barrier was a problem. Data refers to the number of times each barrier was recorded. Barriers may therefore be recorded more than once for some people, as people may have recorded the same barrier for more than one service.

For more information on file levels refer to Output file in the Survey design chapter.


Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

Information on barriers to service providers was not collected in the 2002 NATSISS. Some information was collected on difficulties communicating with service providers as part of the language and culture topic. Refer to the Language and culture chapter for more information.


DISCRIMINATION AND BULLYING

This topic encompasses two main themes:

Racism and discrimination (adult)

The 2008 NATSISS collected information about racism and discrimination, using a series of questions about unfair treatment. People aged 15 years and over were asked whether they felt they had been treated unfairly in certain situations because they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, in the 12 months prior to interview. Being treated unfairly means a person is treated rudely, as if they are inferior or with disrespect; ignored, insulted, harassed, stereotyped or discriminated against; or unfair assumptions are made about them. More than one response was allowed.

Situations included:
  • applying for work, or when at work;
  • at home, by neighbours or at somebody else's house;
  • at school, university, training course or other educational setting;
  • while doing any sporting, recreational or leisure activities;
  • by the police, security people, lawyers or in a court of law;
  • by doctors, nurses or other staff at hospitals or doctor's surgeries;
  • by staff at Government agencies;
  • when seeking any other services (eg at restaurants, bars, shops, banks, hotels, real estate agencies or in taxis);
  • by members of the public (eg on the street; on public transport; or at shopping centres, parks, libraries, sporting events, concerts, restaurants, pubs or clubs); and
  • any other situations.

People who felt they had been treated unfairly in one or more situations were asked about the frequency of the unfair treatment, for each situation. Response categories included:
  • all of the time (100% of the time);
  • most of the time (51-99% of the time);
  • some of the time (21-50% of the time);
  • a little of the time (1-20% of the time); and
  • none of the time (0% of the time).

People who did not feel they had been treated unfairly in the 12 months prior to interview were asked if, at any time during this period, they had avoided any of the situations listed above because they felt they had been treated unfairly in the past. More than one response was allowed.

The racism and discrimination information is available on two different levels:
The information available on the selected persons level includes:
  • whether felt discriminated against in the last 12 months;
  • whether avoided situations due to past discrimination; and
  • types of situations avoided due to past discrimination.

At this level, the data refers to the number of people in each category. For the types of situations avoided due to past discrimination, a person may appear in more than one category, as they may have avoided more than one situation due to past discrimination.

The information available on the discrimination level includes:
  • situations or places felt discriminated against; and
  • frequency of discrimination in last 12 months.

At this level, the data refers to instances of discrimination. The situations or places felt discriminated against data refers to the number of people in each category (a person may appear in more than one category). The frequency of discrimination data refers to the number of times each frequency was recorded. A person may appear more than once in a category if they recorded the same frequency of discrimination for different situations. A person may appear in more than one category if they recorded different frequencies of discrimination for different situations.

Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

Specific information on racism and discrimination was not collected in the 2002 NATSISS, however, racial discrimination was included as a response category for several data items including reasons for not using public transport; difficulties finding work and reasons for not using employment services; and types of stressors experienced. There are no data items from the 2002 NATSISS that are comparable to the racism and discrimination information collected in 2008.


Bullying and unfair treatment at school

Bullying at school is when another student, or group of students, uses behaviour that is cruel or hurtful for no reason. Being treated unfairly because someone is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is where another person treats someone badly (often in the same manner as bullying) because of their culture. Bullying and unfair treatment includes, but is not limited to, the following types of behaviours:
  • name calling;
  • put downs;
  • threats;
  • sexual harassment;
  • did physical violence;
  • stealing or damaging property;
  • spreading rumours;
  • intimidation; and
  • manipulation.

School includes pre-primary, preparatory, reception, transition, kindergarten, primary or secondary school.

Proxies of children aged 2-14 years, who usually attend school (excluding children who were homeschooled), were asked whether the child had been bullied or treated unfairly at school because they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Response categories included:
  • yes, bullied;
  • yes, treated unfairly;
  • yes to both;
  • no to both; and
  • not known.

For children who had been bullied and/or treated unfairly at school, the proxy was asked whether this occurred at the child's current school and if the child had changed schools to avoid the bullying/ unfair treatment. They were also asked to nominate who the person/people who bullied/unfairly treated the child were, based on the following list:
  • older school child/children;
  • similar aged school child/children;
  • younger school child/children;
  • teacher/s;
  • other adult/s at school; and
  • not known.

More than one response was allowed. They were also asked whether any of the people were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

For children who had been bullied and/or treated unfairly at school, the proxy was also asked whether the bullying/unfair treatment affected the child in any of the following ways:
  • playing with other children;
  • making friends;
  • taking part in sporting, recreational or leisure activities at school;
  • none of the above; and
  • not known.

More than one response was allowed.

Proxies of children who had been bullied, but not treated unfairly, were asked some additional questions in relation to the bullying. They were asked if the bullying was physical, verbal or both. They were also asked whether the bullying led to the child not going to school as much as they should. If the proxy responded no or don't know, they were asked if they thought the child's progress at school was being affected because of the bullying. The proxies of all children who had been treated unfairly were asked if the child's progress at school had been affected by the unfair treatment.

Comparison to the 2002 NATSISS

This information was not collected in the 2002 NATSISS.


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