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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Research Ethics Policy Note no. 12 – Research Involving Illegal Activities

Published/Released on December 04, 2018 | Posted by Admin on February 7, 2019 / , , , , ,
 


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The University of Sheffield Research Ethics Policy Note no. 12
Research Involving Illegal Activities

This is a complex area. There is a long tradition of social science research into illegal activity that has enriched public debate about crime and a range of other public issues. Similarly, researchers in psychology or medicine, for example, might in the course of their research learn about criminal activity. But what is the legal and ethical position of the researcher in such circumstances?

1. LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Researchers have the same legal obligations that they would have in any other context, as citizens or legal residents. As a private member of society, there is, however, no general legal obligation in the United Kingdom to report to the relevant authorities all illegal activity that one observes or learns about.

However, there may be moral obligations to report in the following circumstances:

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