Fabricated or induced illness

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Issue

Fabricated or induced illness (FII) is a form of abuse involving a parent or carer inventing, exaggerating or deliberately causing symptoms of illness in a child. It is also known as ‘Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy’. 

Patterns and levels of abuse range in severity, examples include: 

  • Manipulating test results
  • Intentionally withholding nutrition
  • Inducing symptoms; for example, by using chemicals to irritate the skin
  • Poisoning; for example, by using laxatives to induce diarrhoea or insulin to lower blood sugar levels 
  • Smothering to cause unconsciousness 

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