Sexual Assault Victims Participating in Research: Causing Harm When Trying to Help?

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For fear of causing unnecessary distress, ethical concerns have been raised in regard to asking vulnerable persons e.g. sexually traumatized victims to participate in scientific research studies. The current study investigates how victims of sexual assault perceived participating in scientific research in regard to victims' psychological and/or physiological distress and potential beneficial outcomes from participation (N = 51). Results from interviews with victims indicated that the majority of victims of sexual assault who had taken part in the study considered their participation in research a positive experience causing little short- or long-term psychological or physiological distress. In addition, over half of the respondents reported some benefits from participation.

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