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Putting women first: ethical and safety recommendations for research on domestic violence against women.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, Department of Gender and Women's Health, 2001. 31 p. (WHO/FCH/GWH/01.1)In order to guide future research in this area, the World Health Organization has developed the following recommendations regarding the ethical conduct of domestic violence research. These build on the collective experience of the International Research Network on Violence Against Women (IRNVAW). They have been reviewed and approved by the WHO Steering Committee for the Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women, and also reviewed by key members of the Scientific and Ethical Review Group (SERG) of the Special Programme on Research and Research Training on Human Reproduction (HRP). The recommendations are in addition to those outlined in the CIOMS International Guidelines for Ethical Review of Epidemiological Studies (1991). 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. (The latter is addressed by the CIOMS Guidelines referred to above). These recommendations emerged from discussion of those prepared for the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women. They focus in particular on the ethical and safety considerations associated with conducting population-based surveys on domestic violence against women. However, many of the principles identified are also applicable to other forms of quantitative and qualitative research on this issue. The recommendations were not written for research on other forms of violence against women, such as violence in conflict situations, or trafficking of women. Whilst it is likely that some aspects of the guidelines will be applicable in those situations, there may also be some important differences. (excerpt)