Ethical and safety considerations when obtaining information from or about battered women for research purposes

J Interpers Violence. 2004 May;19(5):603-18. doi: 10.1177/0886260504263249.


More and more researchers, evaluators, and policy makers are recognizing that in order to best understand the factors precipitating, supporting, and prohibiting intimate violence against women, we must often gather information directly from battered women themselves. Such data collection, however, is not without its risks to the women involved in such studies. It is important that researchers and evaluators consider ethical issues, especially but not limited to those related to safety and confidentiality, before attempting to gather information either directly from battered women or through their records or files. This article provides a number of practical strategies and protocols that have been used successfully when gathering sensitive information from and about women with abusive partners.

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / psychology
  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Confidentiality
  • Crime Victims* / psychology
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Female
  • Human Experimentation / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Patient Selection / ethics*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • United States
  • Women's Health / ethics*