Fabricated or Induced Illness

The fabrication or induction of illness in children is a relatively rare form of child abuse. Where concerns exist
about fabricated or induced illness, it requires professionals to work together, evaluating all the available
evidence, in order to reach an understanding of the reasons for the child’s signs and symptoms of illness.
The management of these cases requires a careful medical evaluation which considers a range of possible
diagnoses. At all times professionals need to keep an open mind to ensure that they have not missed a vital
piece of information.

By their nature these types of cases require expert input from a range of disciplines, in particular paediatricians.
It is essential that all professionals who come into contact with children whose signs and symptoms
may be being induced or fabricated are aware that this form of abuse exists and know what to do and who to
speak to within their own organisation and how to make a referral to Children's Social Care

Professionals working across health, social care, education, schools, the police and community and voluntary organisations should be aware of the possible ways in which illness can be induced or fabricated. Use the guidance below to aid your decision making. 

Resources & Support


New guidance briefing from RCPCH

Shared by the DfE in June 2020, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has issued new supplementary guidance for  paediatricians, GPs, other specialists, social care and education.

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Government guidance

Published in 2008, this guidance from the DfE provides a national framework for multi-agency teams to work  together where illness may be being fabricated or induced in a child.

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A clear overview

Visit the NHS information pages for a clear overview, signs to look out for, causes, and what happens when fabricated or induced illness is suspected.