The Importance of Professional Curiosity for Safeguarding Adults

Published: 5th Feb 2021

Professional curiosity is a concept which has been recognised as important in the area of safeguarding. More recently, Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) have also highlighted this need.

What is professional curiosity?

The practice of professional curiosity could be viewed as a collection of personality traits, attitudes, behaviours and skills acquired by individuals. These characteristics could enable practitioners and leaders to:

  • identify and take action to explore more deeply what is happening for an individual using proactive questioning
  • make connections and have the confidence to respectfully challenge when appropriate
  • identify potential abuse or neglect, or potentially abusive and/or neglectful situations
  • intervene early and take preventative approaches before a situation deteriorates
  • make and record defensible decisions
  • work in a person-centred way.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that systems known to support curious practice can disappear. The crisis presents additional challenges for professionals carrying out face-to-face risk assessments where there are safeguarding concerns. It imposes restrictions on full observations and assessments of the adult’s environment, including for those experiencing coercive control and when Mental Capacity Act 2005 assessments are required.

Creativity and curiosity are important when using telephone or video-conferencing not only to conduct safeguarding adult enquiries due to the significant challenges in assessing the full extent of risk, harm, abuse and neglect within the environment, but also for managers carrying out supervision.

Research in Practice have published some useful information.