Research is an essential component of gaining a better understanding of the needs of survivors and how best to respond and to prevent sexual violence globally. Our global understanding of sexual violence is skewed towards developed country settings where the majority our research knowledge is drawn. Research in different settings, across different class, race, age, religious and national boundaries is essential for the development of informed policies, services, treatment and prevention programmes.
Sexual violence is a sensitive topic and undertaking research on sexual violence poses some unique methodological and ethical challenges, including issues of safety; confidentiality; and researcher skill and training. Researchers who want to better understand sexual violence must do so with a comprehensive understanding of the ethical issues involved. This page is formulated to inform those that are concerned with the planning, conduct, funding, reviewing of protocols or approving data gathering on sexual violence research. This page should be viewed as a resource or tool for: Researchers; research ethics committees or ethical review boards; rape advocacy groups; community ombudsman; community structures and all people involved in sexual violence research either as data collectors, translators and transcribers, interpreters, data entry staff and others.