Reports, Studies, Reviews and Research

Ethical Principles, Dilemmas and Risks in Collecting Data on Violence against Children. A review of available literature – CP MERG (2012)

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UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund

Recent years have seen growing efforts to collect data on violence against children (VAC) but there are currently no internationally recommended or agreed upon ethical guidelines for VAC research. Ethical guidelines are particularly crucial when carrying out research on violence against children, as they help minimize the risk of potential harm resulting from the data collection process to participants, researchers and others, and ensure that any remaining risks are outweighed by the potential benefits. Research ethics and methodologies are interlinked, with ethically sound research protocols and tools adding to the value of the research itself. This literature review from the CP MERG Technical Working Group (TWG) on Data Collection on VAC aims to contribute to the development of such ethical guidelines. It aims to capture current thinking on ethical issues and provide empirical support to guide recommendations for ethical research practice and decision-making in collecting data on VAC. The review examines documentation, including both published and ‘grey’ literature that is of specific relevance to research ethics in collecting data on VAC. It includes ethics guidelines, codes, protocols and practice-related documentation, as well as research-based publications. The review has six main sections: 1. An introduction to the review and its aims. 2. A discussion of the scope and methodology of the review. 3. A review of ethics documentation, such as guidelines, codes and standards, focusing on aspects relevant to VAC. 4. A review of publications relevant to ethics in research on VAC. 5. A discussion of the ethical challenges and dilemmas that emerged during the review process and possible recommendations from the literature. 6. Concluding comments.

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© Author/Publisher


Child protection

Children's rights


Rights-based approach

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Violence against children

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