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Professor Sue Black

My research

I work on the identification of human remains for forensic investigation. This is not only of the deceased but also in the living, and much of our recent work has concentrated on the identification of perpetrators of child sexual abuse from images or videos. My team carry expertise in a number of areas including age estimation in the living for the purposes of trafficked victims or migrants, and we also have experts in the analysis of trauma to the skeleton and dismemberment practices.

My journey

It is challenging to combine a career in science with family life, there is no doubt.  My first daughter was in a crib beside my desk two days after she was born, so that I could continue my PhD, and later we managed by having a carer who looked after her before and after school.  With my second and third daughters, I largely gave up academic life to be with them whilst young, however the war crimes investigations in Kosovo required me to be absent for some considerable time.  My husband would down play his own work load to take over the parenting role in my absence and when that was not possible we hired a nanny. Our parents lived a long way away and we had no family around to assist us.