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Child abuse

Fabricated or induced illness

Fabricated or induced illness (FII) is a rare form of child abuse. It occurs when a parent or carer exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in a child, and can cause significant harm both physically and emotionally.

It can involve a well child being presented by a parent or carer as ill or disabled, or an ill or disabled child being presented with a more significant problem than they actually have.

The NHS have produced a useful guide outlining the signs and causes and what happens if someone suspects FII.

The Government have produced statutory guidance for professionals on protecting children where carers or parents make a child ill or pretend a child is ill.

Getting help


Detailed medical information about fabricated or induced illness (FII) including the signs, causes and what happens if FII is suspected.


Information and advice about what to do if you think a child is being abused in any way. Confidential helpline available 24 hours a day.

0808 800 5000


Children and young people aged under 19 can call the confidential helpline (available 24 hours a day) or chat online with a counsellor.

0800 1111

If you are worried about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person in Devon,
please complete the request for support online form.


If you think that the child is at risk of significant harm,
contact our Front Door directly by calling 0345 155 1071.


In an emergency call 999.