Cerebra, a national charity which helps children with brain conditions and offers support to their families, and the University of Leeds have launched a survey to find out how many parent carers of disabled children have experienced allegations of Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII).

FII is defined by the NHS as “a rare form of child abuse, in which a parent or carer exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child.”

This form of child abuse is considered to be controversial, with some experts suggesting it does no exist at all. Other experts suggest it is very hard to detect and can often be misdiagnosed, particularly when genuinely concerned parents appear forceful or insistent that there is an issue after a medical professional has incorrectly decided there are no concerns.

The introduction to the survey says:

“Cerebra is concerned about reports from families with disabled children which suggest that a significant number have been accused by practitioners of creating or exaggerating their child’s difficulties when trying to get help to meet their child’s needs. Instances of this kind are often referred to as ‘Fabricated or Induced Illness’ (FII) or, sometimes, as ‘Perplexing Presentations’ (PP).

We want to understand how many parent carers of disabled children have experienced allegations of this kind, when / how these happened and what the consequences were for the family.”

The survey’s front page also asks families not to provide any personal identifying details in this survey, such as your name or address. The survey will be analysed by the Legal Entitlements and Problem-solving (LEaP) Project Research Team under the supervision of Professor Luke Clements, Cerebra Professor of Social Justice at the School of Law, the University of Leeds.

The survey has 10 questions and you have until 31 August to submit your answers.
The findings of this research are set to be published in the Spring of 2023.

If you have any questions, you can send them to Derek Tilley at: derekt@cerebra.org.uk

You can access the survey here.

Many thanks to Rachel Adam Smith and Paul Brian Tovey for alerting us to this survey.