A research group at a Norwegian university college wants to map the extent to which children and adolescents aged between eight and 18 years have experienced violence when living in institutions. In order to do this, they wish to carry out an anonymous survey of children living in childcare institutions in the counties of Akershus, Møre og Romsdal, Oppland and Troms. The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs has commissioned the study.

The survey will ask the respondents to give a detailed account of any episodes of violence they have experienced. They will also be asked whether they themselves or others were exposed to violence, whether the violence was carried out by other residents or staff at the institution or by someone outside the institution, or whether they themselves were responsible for the violence.

The results of the study will be used as a basis for determining whether interventions to prevent violence in childcare institutions are required. The researchers contend that the results will provide extremely important information, which can help to improve children's living situation in the long term.
They plan to recruit participants to the survey via the child welfare services in each of the counties, or via the managers of individual institutions. The children will receive an information letter describing in simple terms what the study will be used for and stating that they will be anonymous, that the information they give will be treated confidentially and that they can withdraw their answers from the study at any time.

  • What do you think of the way in which the researchers are planning to recruit the children?
  • How can researchers ensure that the information is treated confidentially and that it will be impossible to identify the participants indirectly through the information provided?
  • The survey is anonymous, and the answers will be treated confidentially. However, some of the experiences the researchers will probably hear about will be related to violence and will constitute criminal offences. What should the researchers do with this information?
  • Are there special precautions the researchers should take when obtaining consent from the children?
  • Would it be different case if it concerned a study of adults' experiences of violence? If so, how and in what ways?