This article (1) discusses ethical dilemmas in research involving interviewing children exposed to domestic violence in relation to constructions of children as competent and as vulnerable, and (2) suggests a conceptual framework to aid in the design of such studies. The ethical dilemmas discussed concern: (1) research being ethically justified, (2) consent and (3) confidentiality and unsought disclosures. We suggest that combining children’s rights to agency and protection in ethical research that involves interviewing children exposed to violence can be facilitated by using the concepts of closeness and distance.
Children’s exposure to domestic violence has attracted increased interest from researchers. This greater interest necessitates discussion about the methods by which children’s exposure to and descriptions of violence are studied.