Researchers´ arguments and ethical boards’ decisions concerning children’s participation in research about child abuse and neglect – right to participate, benefits and risks
In recent years, the interest in including children and adolescents as active participants in research on violence and abuse has increased. This implies ethical responsibilities for the researchers and formal ethical approval is a prerequisite for the implementation of this research in many countries. Ethical considerations concerning the balance between children’s rights to participate in research, benefits and risks are needed in each research project where children exposed to violence and abuse are involved. This project is a comprehensive study with the purpose to study the practical application of the Swedish ethics law on children’s participation in research about child abuse and neglect, with a focus on researchers’ and ethical boards argumentation and decision finding and the balance between children’s right to participate and protection from harm. We will address this topic from a legal and a psychological perspective and examine board decisions, applications to the board as well as individual variables which may influence the decision making process. The study consists of three parts: 1) researchers’ ethical considerations in applications for ethical approval of research about child abuse and neglect. Thematic analysis is used. 2) Legal analysis of decisions from the Ethical Review Authority and the Ethical Review Appeals Board. 3) Direct and indirect empirical investigation of variables involved in the decision process regarding ethical approval.