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INCORE e-Newsletter

ARK E-Type Newsletter
Issue No: 1 - Jan/2018


Welcome to our first newsletter of 2018. This is an important year for ARK, as it marks significant anniversaries for our surveys. 2018 also marks significant anniversaries in Northern Ireland, and in the wider world. We are planning many activities to mark these occasions, which will be outlined in the Marking Anniversaries section of this newsletter, and our website, throughout the year.

Marking Anniversaries

2018 is a year of many anniversaries for Northern Ireland, but also for ARK. To acknowledge this, our newsletters and website will have an additional Marking Anniversaries section this year. Over the next 12 months we will use this section to reflect on important historical events, but also to look back to how attitudes and perceptions in Northern Ireland have changed over time.

On the global stage we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement. Significant events took place in 1968 in Northern Ireland, but also across the globe. These events arguably shaped in many ways the world in which we now live. 2018 is also the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), and the current political impasse in Stormont is surely going to overshadow the reflections on the undeniable achievements of the peace process which was institutionalised with the GFA.

Whilst we recognise and commemorate macro-political events which have shaped our lives, we also want to look at how the attitudes and experiences of ordinary people have changed in perhaps less obvious ways. Although ARK was established in 2000, it was 1998, the same year the GFA was signed, when the first Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) survey took place. The other two ARK surveys also have their anniversaries: the first Young Life and Times (YLT) survey was conducted 15 years ago, whilst the first Kids' Life and Times (KLT) survey ran a decade ago in 2008. Both YLT and KLT were established to give children and young people an opportunity to express their views on issues that affect them at important stages in their young lives.

Most of today's Primary 7 children and 16-year olds who grow up in Northern Ireland have not directly experienced violent conflict. In fact, they deal with very similar issues as their counterparts in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, or even in mainland Europe. Nonetheless they are at the receiving end of policy making in Northern Ireland, a society coming out of conflict, and we will also use this Marking Anniversaries to highlight some of these issues.

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Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

The minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is the minimum age at which a child who commits an offence is considered to have attained the necessary maturity to understand their actions, can be charged, and held responsible in a criminal procedure. In Northern Ireland, England and Wales, the age of criminal responsibiltiy is 10 years, which is one of the lowest in Europe.

This is a controversial and contested issue, although there is little or no research on public attitudes to MACR, especially on the views of children. Thus, the 2016 Kids' Life and Times included questions on the age of criminal responsibility and their understanding of what constitutes criminal behaviour. Tables of results from these questions are available online. In addition, two publications focus on these findings:
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Elizabeth Meehan

Elizabeth Meehan
The ARK team is saddened to learn of the death of Professor Elizabeth Meehan on 6 January 2018.

Elizabeth was a true friend and supporter of ARK particularly in her role as Director of the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's University Belfast and later as a member of ARK's International Advisory Group 2007-2011. Elizabeth was a gifted academic, a staunch supporter of new researchers, and a generous colleague. We extend our sympathy to her family and friends.
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ARK web statistics

The most recent statistics indicate that the online ARK resources continue to be heavily used:
  • In 2017, overall the sites attracted 3.9 million page views from 1.2 million visits and averaged 61,000 distinct visitors per month.
  • In 2017, the CAIN site had 786,700 visits, with 2.2 million page views. Unique visitors per month were, on average, 44,000.
  • The Accounts of the Conflict resource was launched in 2014, and in 2017, attracted 208,000 page views from 85,800 visits with an average of 3,000 distinct visitors per month.
  • The other resources on ARK had 1.5 million page views from 306,000 visits with an average of 14,000 distinct visitors per month.
  • Whilst CAIN has continued to show a small decrease in usage over the past few years, ARK has reached its highest ever number of visitors per month - just over 12,000.
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About ARK

ARK is a joint initiative between Queen's University and Ulster University, and began in 2000. Our mission is to make social science knowledge on Northern Ireland easily accessible to the widest possible audience. Most of our dissemination is via our website at www.ark.ac.uk, which is divided into four main areas:
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ARK works hard to provide the best possible service and we welcome your feedback on this e-Newsletter. If you would like to comment on any aspect of our work, email or write to us at one of the addresses below. We look forward to hearing your views.

Contact us

Queen's University Belfast
School of Social Sciences,
Education and Social Work,
6 College Park,
Belfast BT7 1LP
T: +44 (0)28 909­7 3034
W: www.ark.ac.uk
E: info@ark.ac.uk

Ulster University
School of Applied Social
and Policy Sciences,
Jordanstown campus, Shore Road,
Newtownabbey, BT7 0QB
T: +44 (0)28 9036 6339
W: www.ark.ac.uk
E: info@ark.ac.uk

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