Protection or paternalism? When ethics committees review domestic violence research

In health-care settings, asking about trauma is recognised as good practice. Yet in research studies, whether to address trauma and how is contested.

Some studies prioritise inclusive samples and questions about lived experience. Others avoid potentially retraumatising topics and exclude people considered too vulnerable to participate. While ethical review and safeguarding is essential, at what point does protection become paternalism, and who gets to decide where that line is drawn? Just as harm to participants is unethical, might exclusion from research – at times – also be unethical and a form of epistemic harm?

For further information and the article, please see: Risk, responsibility, and choice in research ethics – The Lancet Psychiatry  

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