Tayside and Central Scotland

Royal Society award for child abuse research professor

Sue Black
Image caption Prof Sue Black is director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification

A Dundee University professor has won a Royal Society Award for her work assisting investigations into child abuse.

Forensic anthropology expert Prof Sue Black has been given the Wolfson Research Merit Award for her work in the field.

Prof Black said the work being done in Dundee had had a major impact in aiding prosecutions in sex abuse cases.

She added that she was "honoured" to receive the prestigious award.

Prof Black is among 28 new holders of the merit award, which is part of a scheme helping universities attract and retain top talent.

The winners are working on a range of projects from radar-tracking the movement patterns of bees to assessing how polar ice sheets contribute to global sea level rise.

'Harrowing material'

Prof Black, who is the director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee, said the work on child abuse investigations had made a significant difference in the courtroom.

"I am honoured to have received this prestigious research award, which recognises the importance of work that we have pioneered at Dundee to assist investigations into child sexual abuse across the UK," she said.

"This is harrowing material to work with but the success that has manifested from the court room and translated into both guilty sentences by jury and change of plea, is incredibly rewarding.

"At present, over 80% of our casework in this area results in a change of plea which is both an inordinate saving to the court system but more importantly protects victims from the harrowing experience of giving testimony in court."

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