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Last update: Oct 2012

Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group


The global Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group (CP MERG) was established in 2010 in response to gaps and challenges in child protection monitoring, evaluation and research. The CP MERG is currently co-chaired by Save the Children and UNICEF with a core group of members from operational organizations that represent a balance between programme and monitoring and evaluation experts and geographical representation. For more information on the CP MERG, visit http://www.cpmerg.org/


Technical Working Group on Data Collection on Violence against Children


The CP MERG convened a series of Technical Working Groups (TWG), one of which was established to specifically address the general lack of data on violence against children. The aim of the TWG on Data Collection on Violence against Children is to produce outputs that will guide and support reliable, useful and ethical data collection on violence against children. Membership of the TWG currently consists of the following institutions: ChildFund, European Agency for Fundamental Rights, ICF Macro, International Labour Organisation, Plan International, Population Council, Save the Children and UNICEF (Chair).

One primary activity of the TWG will be the development of standard ethical guidelines for data collection on violence against children. To support this work and lay the foundation for the development of such guidelines, the TWG commissioned a literature review. A description and access to the full report is provided below.


Ethical principles, dilemmas and risks in collecting data on violence against children: a review of available literature


Recent years have seen growing efforts to collect data on violence against children but there are, as yet, no internationally recommended or agreed ethical guidelines for such research. Ethical guidelines are particularly crucial when carrying out research on VAC, as they help to minimize the risk of potential harm resulting from the data collection process to participants, researchers and others, and ensure that any remaining risks are outweighed by the potential benefits. In addition, research ethics and methodologies are interlinked, with ethically sound research protocols and tools adding to the value of the research itself. This literature review aims to contribute to the development of such ethical guidelines. It aims to capture current thinking on ethical issues and providing empirical support to guide recommendations for ethical research practice and decision-making in collecting data on VAC. The review examines documentation, including both published and ‘grey’ literature that is of specific relevance to research ethics in collecting data on VAC. Its findings identify existing gaps in documentation and research, and point to the need for further research to gain an understanding of the ethical issues involved in this research. In addition, the review highlights areas of potential risk to children who participate in research and the existing debates on these within the literature. The findings suggest the need to develop a strong framework for ethical research practice on violence against children, which provides clear direction while supporting reflexivity, given the multiple contexts in which the research takes place. Key ethical principles can provide guidance to support this development, in conjunction with a children’s rights-based approach to research on violence, underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The literature review points to the need for on-going investment in continuing discussion and the extension of knowledge through research.