Skip to main content

Reporting suspected abuse or neglect in research involving children.

Resnik, D.B. and Randall, D., 2018. Reporting suspected abuse or neglect in research involving children. Journal of Medical Ethics, 44 (8), 555 - 559.

Full text available as:

Renik and randall Reporting suspected child abuse or neglect author copy accpeted.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2017-104452


In this article, we explore the ethical issues related to the reporting of suspected abuse or neglect in research involving children. Ethical dilemmas related to reporting child maltreatment are often complex because the rights of children and their adult caregivers may conflict and determinations of abuse or neglect are socially constructed judgments that depend on particular circumstances. We argue that when reporting is legally mandated, investigators must follow the law and report their suspicions to Child Protective Services. When reporting is not legally mandated, investigators still have an ethical obligation to report to help prevent additional maltreatment and allow children to obtain access to services needed to recover from abuse or neglect. We also argue that investigators should include plans and procedures in the research protocol for making reports and training research staff in recognising evidence of child abuse or neglect. Although investigators should report evidence of abuse or neglect that is discovered incidentally, they have no mandate to actively search for such evidence when it is not related to the study's objectives. Investigators should also inform parents and children about their obligations to report suspected abuse or neglect.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:children; ethics; ethics committees/consultation; research ethics; research on special populations; biomedical research; child; child abuse; child, preschool; humans; mandatory reporting
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:34187
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:23 Jun 2020 10:14
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:22


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -