A focus on ethics and researcher wellbeing

Tina Skinner, Jade Bloomfield-Utting, Sophie Geoghegan-Fittall, Nicola Roberts, Olivia Smith, Saffy Sweetland, Helen Taylor

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This chapter is primarily about the ethics of researcher care where victim-survivors are participants and/or researchers, but has wider implications for researcher wellbeing in any research area (e.g. by addressing researcher stress and need for long-term career development). Ethical procedures have substantially improved over the last three decades, such that university ethics committees now adopt independent peer review, provide standardized information, and offer template documentation (e.g. consent forms). Despite this, we continue to find ourselves arguing for enhanced support to maintain participants’ and researchers’ wellbeing. In this chapter, we have come together as victim-survivors and/or researchers/supervisors, to review the utility of existing ethical guidance for researcher wellbeing. We talk candidly about our own needs as researchers/supervisors, to develop a protocol (not one-size-fits-all) for moving forward ethically in this field. The authors have supported vulnerable people, campaigned for change, and/or researched gender-based violence (for example Bloomfield-Utting, 2018; Ballantyne, 2004; Skinner and Taylor, 2009; Smith and Skinner, 2017). Our research involves qualitative and quantitative work with victim-survivors (interviews, questionnaires, secondary data), support services (Sexual Assault Referral Centers, Rape Crisis, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors, Independent Sexual Violence Advisors), and criminal justice institutions (police, trial observations, probation).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Ethics in Social Research
EditorsRachel Forester-Jones
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • researchers'
  • wellbeing
  • ethics
  • secondary-trauma
  • protocol
  • sensitive topics


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