Fabricated or Induced Illness

Fabricated or induced illness (FII) is a rare form of child abuse. It occurs when a parent or carer, usually the child's biological mother, exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child.

FII also used to be 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).

NHS website provides a good overview of FII, possible causes, the signs of FII and what to do if healthcare professionals suspect FII.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published new guidance about the protection of children in cases of perplexing presentations (PP) and FII in 2021. This is relevant for paediatricians, GPs and nurses.

The Government's Statutory Guidance for Safeguarding children in whom illness is fabricated or induced was published in 2008 and is being revised. The 2008 version should be used in the meantime.

This statutory guidance is for:

  • local authorities
  • schools
  • health authorities
  • social workers
  • police
  • local safeguarding children boards

The London CP procedures has a section on FII which cites the guidance above.

The Bromley Policy for the management of suspected FII cases and Perplexing Presentations can be found here.