The ethical issues in research on child abuse

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Child abuse is a sensitive research topic. Improving the health of the victims of abuse through research, rights protection, and preemption of harm are important and debatable ethical issues. The ethical considerations related to research into child abuse cover two dimensions: 1) using children as subjects and 2) concerns regarding the physical and mental health of children who are targeted by related research. This paper focuses on several common ethical issues in the field of child abuse research, starting from the formulation of the research problem, sampling, data collection, and results reporting. Ethical issues include obtaining informed consent, assuring the autonomy of maltreated children and adults with childhood abuse histories, ensuring a sense of control and safety during data collection, and establishing the role of researchers as mandated reporters. As a researcher, rigorous research design and methodology and self-preparation on the issue of childhood trauma and abuse are essential in order to reduce the risk of harm to victims. This paper is intended to provide suggestions for researchers and institutional review board committees to assess the ethics of conducting research on sensitive issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


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