Fabricated Illness

Mum child with medicineFabricated or induced illness (FII) is a rare form of child abuse. It occurs when a parent or carer, exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child.

FII is also known as 'Munchausen's syndrome by proxy' (not to be confused with Munchausen's syndrome, where a person pretends to be ill or causes illness or injury to themselves).

FII covers a wide range of symptoms and behaviours involving parents seeking healthcare for a child. This ranges from extreme neglect (failing to seek medical care) to induced illness.

Behaviours in FII include a parent or carer who:

  • Persuades healthcare professionals that their child is ill when they're perfectly healthy.

  • Exaggerates or lies about their child's symptoms.

  • Manipulates test results to suggest the presence of illness – for example, by putting glucose in urine samples to suggest the child has diabetes.

  • Deliberately induces symptoms of illness – for example, by poisoning her child with unnecessary medication or other substances.

 

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