Are modern social issues old news? Single parents, the ageing population and the Victorian family

by Kevin Schürer

The modern family has its struggles. Single-parent families are often at the forefront of Government debates about welfare and employment. The elderly population is growing, and more and more people live alone in their later years. People marry later and have children later – who in turn are leaving home later and later.

At first glance, our complicated modern family structure might seem to be just that – modern. However, a look at the data shows that family has never been simple. Continue reading

How to live to 100 and tell people about it!

by Teresa McGowan

We are all living longer; since 1850, we’ve gained around 2.5 years of life expectancy per decade and it’s estimated that one in three children born today will live to be 100 years old. In Europe there is one retiree for every four people of working age, by 2060 this is expected to rise to one in two.

In our exhibition, ‘How to get to 100 – and enjoy it’, we ask people to explore how our early years, lifestyle, work and where we live can affect our lifespan. Continue reading

The rise in hate crime in 2017-18: A genuine increase or just poor data?

by Matthew Williams

In 2017 I was approached to take part in a BBC One Panorama documentary on the rise of hate crime following the Brexit vote.  The BBC wanted an expert on the topic to provide the ‘hard science’ on hate crime figures.  Ahead of the crew travelling to Cardiff for filming, I spent two weeks delving into the most recent police and Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) figures (PDF). What I found was a complex picture that wasn’t going to be easy to explain in a sound-bite. Continue reading

Improving eyewitness testimony

by Laura Mickes and Travis Seale-Carlisle

Crime rates across the UK are on the rise with knife and acid attacks featured prominently and regularly in the news. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable evidence, but the way that evidence is collected and used needs much improvement. Psychology has had a lot to say about memory in general and the pitfalls of memory as an accurate recording of past experiences. Fortunately, the solutions are simple and inexpensive.

Eyewitnesses to crimes are often asked to try to identify the perpetrator out of an identity parade. They do not have to pick anyone, but if they did, the person is either a stooge (known innocents) or the suspect. If the suspect is picked, then that provides evidence against that person.

It’s good news if that person is guilty. But it’s bad news if that person is innocent. Continue reading