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The Danish Youth Survey 2002: Asking young people about sensitive issues

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Publication details

JournalCircumpolar Health Supplement
DatePublished - 2004
Volume2
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)147-153
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Objectives. To explore ethical, legal and practical issues related to conducting a youth survey in Denmark on sexual experiences before the age of 15 and thereby achieve reliable data on child sexual abuse.
Study design and methods. The relevant authorities were consulted on possible legal and ethical objections. By a pilot study based on conventional self-administered questionnaires, information was
obtained about the reactions of school boards, teachers and 9th grade students. Results. The necessary conditions were present for the implementation of a nationwide anonymous youth survey without obtaining
parental consent. The Central Scientific Ethical Committee had no objections. In a number of fields, Danish legislation accords 15-to-18-year-olds the competence to make independent decisions regarding their personal circumstances, and the UN Convention of Children’s Rights states that a child’s viewpoints must be accorded appropriate significance in relation to that child’s age and maturity. In the pilot study, no negative reactions were observed among the students and school authorities. About 25% of the students had difficulties in filling the questionnaire. No student made use of the accompanying offer of counselling. Conclusion. An anonymous youth survey based on computer-assisted self-interview (CASI) would increase the validity of youth surveys on child sexual abuse to which no ethical or legal objections were found.

    Research areas

  • youth survey, ethical issues, child sexual abuse, pilotstudy, Denmark

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