Before the evaluation

Before conducting an evaluation think carefully about the possible benefits of the evaluation versus the risks or burden placed on the participants. While basic ethical principles apply, in PVAW careful thinking and planning is important given the sensitive nature of the topic.

Your participants

  • What type of data will we be collected and from who? How will this influence the benefits, risks or burden for the participants?
  • Will participants be asked sensitive information?
  • Could participants' privacy be compromised? For example, if the sample size of the participants is small it is possible they might be able to be identified from certain demographic or other information they provide.
  • Is it possible that some participants have experienced or perpetrated family violence?
  • If family violence is disclosed, what steps will be taken to ensure the safety of the participants?
  • Does the interviewer feel they are adequately trained to respond to family violence disclosures?

Informed consent

  • How will informed consent be obtained from participants?
  • Will consent be written (e.g. plain language statement and signed consent form), evaluator/interviewer verified (e.g. for low literacy) or implied (e.g. opting in to an online survey)? It is preferable to secure informed consent in writing however this may be difficult or inappropriate in certain instances.
  • When seeking informed consent, you should let participants know the benefits and risks associated with their participation, what happens to the information they provide (e.g. the purpose of the data being collected, how long is it stored for), how their anonymity and/or privacy will be protected and who they can contact if an issue arises (AES, 2013).


  • How will the privacy of participants be protected?
  • Is the data stored in a secure and de-identified way?
  • Where will the data be stored?
  • Who will have access to the data?