We recommend ethics committees verify that this information is included in the consent in lieu of POCSO regulations. To prevent coercion during the informed consent process, we suggest that ethics committee ensure that compensation provided to participants is minimal, particularly when conducting research with minors.
But, we simultaneously recognize that compensation should be tailored to the population i. Second, our review highlighted many methods for optimizing participant confidentiality used in recent studies i. Further, none of the articles discussed purposefully breaching confidentiality to disclose ongoing CSV to legal authorities, perhaps because of the general perception of reporting being unhelpful and potentially harmful to participants.
We recommend that either data be collected in an anonymous manner to circumvent mandatory reporting laws or that authors publishing data about ongoing or recent CSV disclose whether it was reported to authorities as is legally required. We recommend that at minimum the study team receive training in basic research ethics, safety and legal issues associated with CSV research, proper rapport building critical to ensuring the validity of the data collected , and methods for referring participants with reported or suspected abuse histories to support services.
While a few of the studies in our review reported providing ethics training to study team members, extensive training is clearly necessary for research on this sensitive topic. Next, to address the moral obligation to measure and report CSV estimates in a valid manner as underestimation could divert much needed national resources to prevent and address CSV , we recommend that studies measuring CSV assess all three WHO classifications of CSV non-contact sexual abuse, contact sexual abuse, and forced sexual intercourse and use validated CSV instruments where possible. Additionally, we recommend that all studies collecting primary CSV data be required to report how they assessed participant emotional distress i.
Lastly, the process of research should be based on a partnership between all involved. The ICMR guidelines specifically recommend involvement of a youth advisory committee in the planning phase of adolescent community-based research [ 10 ]. We suggest that engagement should include individuals with background characteristics similar to the planned research participants in the planning, development and implementation of the research process from initial stages. In conclusion, our review of the past decade of India CSV literature in the context of existing international guidelines about other forms of gender-based violence, begins to lay a foundation for the development of culturally-tailored recommendations for the conduct and reporting of CSV research in India and similar settings worldwide.
We would like to thank Dr. Ramya Subrahmanian Know Violence in Childhood for her constructive feedback on reference guidelines. All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article Tables 3 , 4 and 5. Any more information or data required for the current study are available from the corresponding author on request. RD extracted and analyzed the data. RD and AK led the writing of the paper and all authors contributed to its development and the interpretation of the analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that there is no competing interest financial or non-financial with regard to the study. The interpretation and presentation of the facts and figures given in the paper is not influenced by any personal or financial relationship with any individual or organization. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide.
Download PDF. Ethical and definitional considerations in research on child sexual violence in India. Open Access. First Online: 27 September Part of the following topical collections: Global health.
Background While critically important, child sexual violence CSV research poses numerous ethical and safety challenges. Methods A multi-tiered approach was used to understand current ethical practices and gaps: 1 systematic review of Indian CSV studies published over the past decade, 2 examination of existing guidelines on related topics to develop an ethical framework, 3 development of an ethics checklist based on the recommendations from the surveyed guidelines, and 4 application of the checklist to each of the reviewed studies. Result Our search yielded 51 eligible studies.
Conclusions Through enhancing understanding of current ethical practices and gaps in CSV research in India, this systematic review informs reporting protocols and future guidelines for CSV research in India and other similar settings. The systematic review This study draws from a broader systematic review which aimed to examine the prevalence, determinants and consequences of CSV in India under review.
To be included in the review, the articles had to meet the following criteria: i be written in English, ii be published between January 1, and January 1, , iii involve human subjects, and iv collect original data on experience, perpetration or response to CSV in India. The initial search yielded articles. After removal of duplicates, were left and screened for potential relevance by title and abstract review. Through title and abstract screening, studies were excluded based on irrelevancy, leaving for full-text screening. Of the articles, articles were excluded because they did not meet eligibility criteria, were excluded as insufficient information was provided to assess eligibility with two failed attempts to contact authors for additional information , and 21 were excluded because the full text was not found through our institutional libraries nor through repeated attempts to contact authors.
The final list of included articles consists of 51 studies. Open image in new window.
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Additionally, we sought input from India CSV experts for guidelines of relevance. To develop the Ethics Checklist, key themes from each of the four documents were first extracted and commonalties between documents noted. The key themes were then discussed among the entire research team for inclusion based on their relevance to CSV research until consensus for inclusion was reached. The checklist takes into consideration the following key ethical principles: i informed consent, ii confidentiality, iii selection, training, and protection of study team members, iv validity of CSV measurement methods, v measures to minimize participant harm and vi participant compensation.
Each of the 51 articles were reviewed by a single author RD and information regarding these key ethical principles was extracted. When questions arose or clarifications were needed, RD consulted a second author AK to reach consensus. If the information was not reported in a manuscript, we stated so. Table 2 Consolidated Ethics Criteria. Mention measures to ensure data confidentiality? Take care to not present data that could identify the participant? Does the manuscript discuss measures to minimize distress?
Table 3 Ethics Checklist on Confidentiality.
Table 4 Ethics Checklist on selection and training of study team members. Table 5 Ethics checklist on validity of CSV measurement methods, minimization of participant harm and participant compensation. Reported methods to minimize distress? Acknowledgements We would like to thank Dr.
Availability of data and materials All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article Tables 3 , 4 and 5. Consent for publication Not applicable. Competing interests The authors declare that there is no competing interest financial or non-financial with regard to the study. World Health Organization. Ministry of Women and Child Development. Study on Child Abuse: India United Nations Children's Fund. Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children Recounting Abuse, Reporting Abusers: reflections from survivors on mandatory reporting.
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