Fabricated 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.
Safeguarding Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced - Please note, in the absence of a designated doctor, please contact the designated nurses for help and advice (contact details are shown on Page 12 of the policy).