Putting Women First: Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Research on Domestic Violence Against Women

General Material
Published Date

"These recommendations are designed for use both by anyone intending to do research on domestic violence against women (such as investigators, project co-ordinators and others implementing such research), and also by those initiating or reviewing such research (such as donors, research ethical committees etc.). The guidelines focus on the specific ethical and safety issues associated with planning and conducting research on this topic. They do not intend to give general guidance or recommendations on the planning, methodology, and logistics of research on domestic violence against women, or issues associated with the ethical conduct of research in general."

Recommendations include:

  • The safety of respondents and the research team is paramount, and should guide all project decisions.
  • Prevalence studies need to be methodologically sound and to build upon current research experience about how to minimize the under-reporting of violence.
  • Protecting confidentiality is essential to ensure both women's safety and data quality.
  • All research team members should be care fully selected and receive specialized training and on-going support.
  • The study design must include actions aimed at reducing any possible distress caused to the participants by the research.
  • Fieldworkers should be trained to refer women requesting assistance to available local services and sources of support. Where few resources exist, it may be necessary for the study to create short-term support mechanisms.
  • Researchers and donors have an ethical obligation to help ensure that their findings are properly interpreted and used to advance policy and intervention development.
  • Violence questions should only be incorporated into surveys designed for other purposes when ethical and methodological requirements can be met.