Fabricated or Induced Illness

Fabricated or Induced Illness in children is not a common form of child abuse, but practitioners should nevertheless be able to understand its significance.

Although it can affect children of any age, fabricated and induced illness is most commonly identified in younger children.

Where concerns do exist about the fabrication or induction of illness in a child, practitioners must work together, considering all the available evidence, in order to reach an understanding of the reasons for the child’s signs and symptoms of illnesses.

A careful medical evaluation is always required to consider a range of possible diagnoses and a range of practitioners and disciplines will be required to assess and evaluate the child’s needs and family history.

There are three main ways in which a parent/carer can fabricate or induce illness in a child.

These are not mutually exclusive and include:

  • Fabrication of signs and symptoms, including fabricating the child’s past medical history
  • Fabrication of signs and symptoms and falsification of hospital charts, records and specimens of bodily fluids. This may also include falsification of letters and documents; and 
  • Induction of illness by a variety of means.

Key resources

Perplexing Presentations (PP)/Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) in children – guidance

Year: 2021 | Topic: Fabricated or Induced Illness in children | Author: The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
This guidance, published in March 2021, provides best practice advice for paediatricians in the medical management of PP and FII cases to obt…
Guidance Resource Icon

Child Maltreatment: When to Suspect Maltreatment in Under 18s

Year: 2009 | Topic: Child protection, Fabricated or Induced Illness in children | Author: The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence NICE
Guidelines aiming to raise awareness and help health professionals to identify child maltreatment, including fabricated or induced illness.
Guidance Resource Icon

Safeguarding children in whom illness is fabricated or induced - Supplementary guidance to Working Together to Safeguard Children

Year: 2008 | Topic: Child protection, Fabricated or Induced Illness in children | Author: HM Government
Guidance for England and Wales outlining what is known about fabricated or induced illness, including the impact on the child’s health and de…
Magazine Resource IconResearch Resource Icon

The perpetrators of medical child abuse (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy) - A systematic review of 796 cases

Year: 2017 | Topic: Child protection, Fabricated or Induced Illness in children | Author: Yates, G. & Bass, C.
Article investigating the demographic and clinical characteristics of 796 worldwide cases of medical child abuse.