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4714.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/10/2009   
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SOCIAL NETWORKS AND SUPPORT


Social relationships provide interaction with other people and assist to build networks that may be drawn on for support in times of need. Two aspects of social networks and support are highlighted in this publication:


Information on removal is also presented.


SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT

In 2008, the majority (92%) of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over had participated in some type of sporting, social or community activity in the 12 months prior to interview. This included activities such as coaching or refereeing sport, attending church or community festivals and going to the movies, a park or a museum. Indigenous children also had high levels of participation with 94% of those aged 4-14 years participating in some type of sporting, social or community activity.

Indigenous elders are important members of Indigenous communities and are often knowledge keepers of their people's history, stories, culture and language. In 2008, almost one-third (31%) of Indigenous children aged 4-14 years spent at least one day a week with an Indigenous leader or elder.

Indigenous children living in remote areas were much more likely to spend time with an Indigenous leader or elder, with close to half (48%) spending at least one day a week in their company. In comparison, 23% of Indigenous children living in major cities and 28% of those living in regional areas spent at least one day a week with an Indigenous leader or elder. Two-thirds (66%) of Indigenous children living in major cities spent no time with, or did not have available, an Indigenous leader or elder.

3.1 TIME CHILD SPENT WITH INDIGENOUS LEADER OR ELDER(a), by remoteness area-2008
Graph: Time child spent with Indigenous leader or elder by remoteness area - 2008



SOCIAL SUPPORT AND CONTRIBUTION

A person's social network may include friends, family, neighbours or more widely dispersed contacts within a community. A support network consists of the people who they can turn to for help with small favours or routine household tasks, such as feeding pets while away, minding a child for brief periods of time or borrowing tools or equipment. These types of relationships provide an indication of the connectedness within communities.

The ability to get support in a time of crisis means that a person is able to obtain emotional, physical or financial help from someone else during a time of unexpected trouble (eg sudden sickness, death of a partner/spouse, loss of job, fire or flood). In 2008, 89% of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over were able to get support in a time of crisis. Compared to 2002, this proportion has not changed significantly (90%).

Being able to have a say on issues that are important may contribute to a person's sense of social and emotional well-being. In 2008, one-quarter (25%) of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over felt they were able to have their say within community on important issues all or most of the time and a similar proportion (23%) felt they could have their say some of the time. However, just over half (52%) felt they could only have their say a little of the time or not at all.


Comparison to non-Indigenous people

The following table provides a comparison between Indigenous people from the 2008 NATSISS and non-Indigenous people from the 2006 General Social Survey (GSS). The underlying concepts used to collect data on social support and contribution in the 2006 GSS are similar to the 2008 NATSISS, but there are differences between the two surveys that should be considered when making comparisons. See Appendix 1 for more information.

In 2008, Indigenous people aged 18 years and over were slightly less likely than non-Indigenous people to be able to get support in a time of crisis (89% and 93% respectively). Indigenous people were also slightly less likely to feel they could have a say within their community on important issues all or most of the time (26% compared to 29%).

3.2 INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS PERSONS, by social support and contribution

Indigenous persons(a)
Non-Indigenous persons(b)
%
%

Whether able to get support in a time of crisis from outside the household
Able to get support in time of crisis
89.2
93.4
Not able to get support in time of crisis
10.8
6.6
How often feels able to have a say within community on important issues
All/most of the time
26.1
29.1
Some of the time
23.6
24.6
A little/none of the time
50.3
46.2
Total
100.0
100.0
Total persons aged 18 years and over ('000)
290.9
15 192.9

(a) Data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.
(b) Data from the 2006 General Social Survey.
Note: The 2008 NATSISS population in this table varies to that shown in the summary tables. Therefore, these estimates will differ from other estimates presented.



REMOVAL

In 2008, an estimated 26,900, or 8% of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over reported that they had been removed from their natural family by welfare, the government or had been taken away to a mission. There were 125,700 or almost two in five (38%) Indigenous people aged 15 years and over who had relatives that had been removed from their natural family. Compared to 2002, the proportions of Indigenous people who reported being removed from their family, or reported having relatives who were removed, have not changed significantly (8% and 36% respectively). In 2008, there were also 43,600, or 13% of Indigenous people, who did not know or were unwilling to say whether relatives were removed.


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