Concerned about a child or young person? Call 0345 603 7627

Professional Curiosity and Disguised Compliance


What is professional curiosity?

Professional curiosity means exploring every possible indicator of abuse or neglect and trying to understand what the life of that child is like on a day to day basis – their routines, thoughts, feelings and relationships with family members. A professional may have the opportunity to identify abuse and neglect even if they come into contact with a family for an unrelated reason (definition from Greenwich Safeguarding Children Partnership)


What is disguised compliance?

Disguised compliance involves parents and carers appearing to co-operate with professionals in order to allay concerns and stop professional engagement (Reder et al, 1993). This can mean that social workers and other practitioners may be unaware of what is happening in a child’s life and the risks they face may be unknown to local authorities. This briefing focuses on learning from published case reviews from 2014 onwards that involve disguised compliance. (definition from 


N.B. Not all resources have been scrutinised in detail by ESCB and therefore we cannot guarantee quality assurance; however they do originate from reputable sources.