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DCJ's Annual Statistical Report 2021-22 (ASR) present key measures to improve outcomes for children and young people, families and communities in NSW. Data presented in the Statistical Report is reported under three key state outcome areas, which are outlined in the Strategic Directions 2020-2024.


Framework Dimensions


At DCJ we refer only to "Aboriginal", in recognition that Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of NSW. We do not have a specific charter of service related to Torres Strait Islander people. However, we acknowledge and respect that Torres Strait Islander people are among the First Nations of Australia. Torres Strait Islander people are also included amongst our clients and staff. Refer to Information for Aboriginal people.

Accuracy of Indigenous Status Data

The accuracy of data held about Indigenous Status in current collections is poor for several factors. Firstly, the number of individuals indicating that they are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander may not be an accurate count, but an over- or under-representation depending on several factors. Secondly, the data quality of Indigenous Status is poor due to the variance and inadequacies of the question/s currently being asked to record Indigenous status.

The accuracy in the representation of Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islanders is determined by whether a person will or can identify as such on a data collection form. This is influenced by a number of factors, including the requirements of data collected, the reasons for the collection, who will have access to the information, who the collector is, the way it is collected, and the perception of why the information is collected. These factors are compounded by the structural systems of racism, which have led to power imbalances and relationships founded on mistrust.

The Department of Communities and Justice currently enacts program level Aboriginal identification guidelines, the variance in program guidelines impacts upon the capacity and willingness for an Aboriginal person to self-identify.

The current questions included in data collections to capture Indigenous status are also inadequate. Most commonly, this is seen as a Yes or No reply to Indigenous Status and provides very limited information. A person’s Indigenous status is more complex than a Yes or No reply. It is a starting point to seek more information about a person’s identity. It may be appropriate to collect additional information for example on Country, Clan, and Language affiliation.  This Information should only be collected for a defined and appropriate use for example to facilitate cultural connection of children with family and community.

To begin addressing these gaps, the Department of Communities and Justice, is implementing the Family is Culture Report, which will result in the re-design and collection of identifying Indigenous information as per Recommendation 77. This more detailed suite of questions will improve the quality of the data collected and be more likely to attract an accurate representation of people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Multiple projects are also underway across DCJ to address the recommendations made in the Family is Culture Report to increase both the practice and policy positions of DCJ in regard to the identification and de-identification of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children. The recommendations have been made to increase consistency, improve practice and ensure the principles of Indigenous Data Sovereignty guide the design of all future data elements.

NSW Government is committed to enabling the principles of Indigenous Data Governance as per the NSW Data Strategy . Aboriginal-led Governance structures will be formed as a result of the NSW Governments Commitment to the Family is Culture Report (Recommendation 2), and Closing the Gap, Priority Reform Four, Priority Key action Area 2 Closing the Gap, Priority Reforms.