Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) research report

FII is a term adopted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health – in essence – to replace what was previously referred to as ‘Munchausen syndrome by proxy’. It is generally accepted that FII is a rare (or very rare) condition.

A new research report concerning the prevalence and the impact of FII allegations has been published by the Cerebra Legal Entitlements and Problem-solving programme (LEaP) at the School of Law, The University of Leeds.


Key Messages emerging from the research report include:

·        FII allegations against parents of disabled children appear to be widespread.   The research indicates that parents in at least 74 per cent of English children’s services authorities have experienced FII allegations – and that authorities in Scotland and Wales were also reported as initiating allegations of this nature.

·        The major finding of the research is one of family trauma.  The making of an allegation often causes devastating and life-long trauma to those accused. 

·        Disabled parents appear to be four times more likely to be accused of FII than non-disabled parents – raising important questions concerning Equality Act 2010 compliance.

·        50% of allegations of FII reported for this research were made after a parent carer had complained about the actions of the relevant public body.

·        It appears that most FII allegations (84 per cent) resulted in no follow up-action or were abandoned and that in 95 per cent of the cases the child(ren) remained living with the parent.

·        The research indicates that NHS practitioners were the source of most FII allegations, followed by schools and then local authority children’s services. 

The report calls for urgent action to revise guidance[1] published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2021: guidance that fails: (1) to recognise the harm to parents and children caused by allegations of FII; (2) to address the danger that its ‘alerting signs’ may have an unlawful discriminatory impact on disabled parents; and (3) to acknowledge that its ‘alerting signs’ (of FII) are unsupported by any peer reviewed research.

A copy of the research report can be accessed by clicking here.

The report will be featured in a Channel 5 News report to be aired on the 14 November 2023 at 5pm.

Photograph of Dolbadarn yn deffro Richard Jones -@lluniaurich

Posted 14 November 2023.


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