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False allegations of abuse and Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
  1. R Meadow
  1. Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, St James's University Hospital, Leeds.


    Fourteen children from seven families are reported for whom false allegations of abuse were made by the mother. Twelve children were alleged to have incurred sexual abuse, one both sexual and physical abuse, and one physical abuse alone. Thirteen of the children had incurred, or were currently victims of, factitious illness abuse invented by the mother. The one child with no history of factitious illness abuse had a sibling who had incurred definite factitious illness abuse. The false allegations of abuse did not occur in the context of parental separation, divorce, or custody disputes concerning the children. They occurred in the context of Munchausen syndrome by proxy abuse. The age of the children, 3 to 9 years, was older than the usual age for Munchausen syndrome by proxy abuse. The mother was the source of the false allegations and was the person who encouraged or taught six of the children to substantiate allegations of sexual abuse.

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