Disguised compliance: learning from case reviews

Summary of risk factors and learning for improved practice around families and disguised compliance

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)1. 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.

Key learning

Learning from these case reviews highlights the importance of:

  • social workers and other practitioners being able to recognise disguised compliance when working with families
  • being aware of what actions to take in situations where they suspect parents or carers of disguised compliance.

Published: November 2019


Reder, P., Duncan, S.and Gray, M. (1993) Beyond blame: child abuse tragedies revisited. London: Routledge.
Disguised compliance: learning from case reviews
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