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Some ethical issues surrounding covert video surveillance--a response.
  1. D P Southall,
  2. M P Samuels
  1. Academic Department of Paediatrics, University of Keele, North Staffordshire Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent.


    In a recent article in this journal our unit was accused of a number of errors of judgment in applying covert video surveillance (CVS) to infants and children suspected of life-threatening abuse. The article implied, that on moving from the Royal Brompton Hospital in London to North Staffordshire Hospital, we failed to present our work to the Research Ethics Committee (REC). We did send our protocol to the REC though we did not consider that, after a total of 16 patients had been documented as being the subject of life-threatening abuse, this was research. The REC in Staffordshire agreed with us. We were also accused of undertaking work that should be pursued by the Police. We agree with this. However, unlike the Metropolitan Police the Staffordshire Police would not undertake CVS. We fail to agree that 'working together' with parents is necessarily practical or safe when trying to protect children from life-threatening abuse of this kind.

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