CARE/CONTACT: A County Council v A Mother and A Father and X Y and Z (by their Children's Guardian) [2005] EWHC 31 (Fam)

18 JAN 2005

(January 18, 2005; Ryder J; Family Division) [2005] 2 FLR 219

A case involving a mother who was suspected of having fabricated diabetes and other illnesses in her daughter, and who was charged with child cruelty, highlighted very real issues, which arose when a local authority had not had strategic shared control of the investigations but had been forced on costs grounds to adopt the statements of the many police witnesses as their primary case. The social work analysis had thereby been almost completely disempowered and the context lost. Evidence as to the existence of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, or Factitious (and Induced) Illness (by Proxy) was likely to be evidence of mere propensity; the label MSBP should be consigned to the history books, and FII used only as a factual description of a series of incidents or behaviours.

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