The sensitive nature of research on VAW requires special ethical and safety considerations. For example, how can researchers safely approach selection, recruitment and follow-up of participants in a study to evaluate the outcomes and impacts of an intervention to prevent violence? How do researchers address randomization of participants into control or intervention arms? How do researchers monitor and manage risk of violence from participation in the intervention? And what additional protections should be put in place when the research involves populations requiring special considerations, such as pregnant women?
Gender-based violence is a complicated and sensitive subject. Reporting on gender-based violence means discussing issues that are often considered taboo, and talking publicly about intimate and distressing matters. This can be particularly challenging in countries where tradition and religion play an important role in everyday life.
WHO Ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies
World Health Organization
Ethics can be defined as a system or code of moral values that provides rules and standards of conduct. The three primary ethical principles that should guide all inquiries involving human beings (including methods used to collect information) are as follows: 1) Respect for persons, which relates to respecting the autonomy and self-determination of participants, and protecting those who lack autonomy, including by providing security from harm or abuse.