Mandatory reporting obligations within the context of health research: Grappling with some of the ethical-legal complexities

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A Strode
C Badul


Mandatory reporting of various forms of abuse, from violence to corruption, is an attempt by the state to intervene in circumstances where there is a public or a private interest that ought to be protected. This intrusion of the state into what is often a very personal space, such as the home, is largely justified on the basis of the need to provide protection to prevent further harm, and in services to vulnerable populations such as children, the disabled or the elderly. In some instances, researchers and other members of the study team may encounter reportable information requiring the consideration of mandatory reporting in the design, implementation and review of health research. This is not simple. There are complex and competing interests at play, particularly as there are differing approaches in law and ethical guidelines. This article aims to describe the mandatory reporting obligations in South African law, discussing the ways in which these provisions apply within the context of health research, and to propose some factors that could be used to determine whether it is ethical or not to report information.

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Mandatory reporting obligations within the context of health research: Grappling with some of the ethical-legal complexities. (2023). South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 16(1), 4-8.
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How to Cite

Mandatory reporting obligations within the context of health research: Grappling with some of the ethical-legal complexities. (2023). South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 16(1), 4-8.


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