Stop Press

12 September 2005

Research Code of Ethics

A Code of Ethics for Social Science Research with Victims of Violence and Other Vulnerable Groups, commissioned by the Themba Lesizwe network, was officially handed over to commissioner Jody Kollapen of the Human Rights Commission at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg on August 10.

The code covers pertinent research topics such as legal limitations controlling public access to government records; the practice of ethical research; obtaining informed consent; guidelines for the research's ethical acceptability and foreseeable consequences; ensuring maximum participation of potential research participants; protecting the participants' confidentiality and anonymity; protection of a victim's privacy; the rights and responsibilities of service providers within the victim empowerment sector, and ethics governing how research within this sector is published.

Lillian Artz of UCT's Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit, who co-authored the publication, emphasised the lasting importance of the code of ethics and its principles. She stressed that it needed to be used and considered a "living document". "The code," said Artz, "should be adhered to in all research to avoid further traumatising victims of violence and other vulnerable groups."

The code of ethics is available online at

Disability series gets into gear

Labour lawyer Sarah Christie kicked off the Disability Unit's 2005 seminar series with a thought-provoking talk on the legal dilemmas attached to disability, abortion and euthanasia, perhaps providing more questions to these issues than answers, such is the depth and complexity of debate on right to life and death. The seminar series is based on the theme Finding Meaning in Difference.

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