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Fabricated and Induced Illness (FII)

Fabricated or induced illness (FII) is a rare form of child abuse. It happens when a parent or carer, usually the child's biological mother, 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).

Signs of fabricated or induced illness

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

Behaviours in FII include a mother, or other carer, who:

  • persuades healthcare professionals that their child is ill when they're 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 their child with unnecessary medicine or other substances

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