This paper draws on two separate research projects dealing with sensitive issues. The first project looks at work done in high schools with boys on gender and violence. The second investigates teachers' work with maltreated pre-school age children. Our paper explores some of the ethical issues of researching topics like violence, including sexual violence. We note here the ethical problems facing researchers when they are made aware of teacher or administrative (in)actions which do not protect at risk children and also the dilemmas faced by researchers when they act as confidant for both children and teachers. The paper also comments on the ways in which the current marketisation of schools and child care centres and the changing context of teachers' work serves to silence inquiry into topics such as gendered violence in schools and child abuse.