Social sciences

This page lists ongoing and future projects in the field of social sciences that have been approved by the POST Board.

Approaches to reducing violent crime, focusing on early interventions

In production: to contribute please email Frankie Boyd

Between 2016 and 2017, the Office for National statistics found that there was a 22% increase in violent crime involving knives or other sharp instruments, with these offences being disproportionately concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas.

In April 2018, the Home Office published the Serious Violence Strategy. The strategy sets out to reduce violent crime by bringing together a wide range of stakeholders. The strategy also launches the new £11 million Early Intervention Youth fund to support communities in early intervention and prevention of violent crime.

A POSTnote on this topic will examine national and international evidence on effective approaches to reducing violent crime. It can focus specifically on early interventions to prevent youth violent crime as well as on approaches to reduce a certain type of violent crime, such as knife crime.

Improving eyewitness testimony

Work to start in May 2019: to contribute please email Dr Rowena Bermingham

Eyewitness testimony plays a crucial role in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, and in asylum procedures. For several decades, scientists have conducted research on the factors that affect the accuracy of eyewitness identification procedures, which has challenged many of the assumptions of the legal system and the general public regarding the accuracy of eyewitness accounts.

Research from psychology and neuroscience has led to some changes. However, there is criticism that overall the justice system has been slow to adapt to research findings and that the way that evidence is collected and used still needs much improvement.

Improved policies and procedures to support accurate eyewitness testimony may increase public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system and may also reduce financial and human costs associated with false eyewitness testimony.

A POSTnote in this area would provide an overview of research assessing the accuracy of eyewitness testimony in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, and in asylum procedures. It would examine the evidence for how the way that eyewitness testimony; including from young children, the elderly and people with autism; is collected and used and how it could be improved to enhance confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of criminal justice. 

Integrating health and social care

In production: to contribute please email Dr Rowena Bermingham

An ageing population and the increasing prevalence of long-term conditions continue to place pressure on health and social care services. The four UK nations have committed to better integration between health and social care as one solution to these challenges.

This briefing will provide an update to the POSTnote 0532. It will examine whether policies have enabled integration to date, identify the measures that have been used to evaluate integration, and present an overview of the relative effectiveness of models of integration in community care.


Research glossary

In production: to contribute please email Dr Rowena Bermingham

This POSTbrief will outline different approaches and methods used within research and review the strengths and limitations of each. The purpose of this is to provide an overview of key terms and approaches that can be used to inform parliamentary scrutiny.

Image: iStockphoto

Contact POST

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
Houses of Parliament

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