Munchausen Syndrome: Victimizing the Child

Munchausen Syndrome: Victimizing the ChildHarmful Caregiving


In certain situations, a caregiver may harm a child through caregiving practices. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (i.e. factitious disorder imposed on another) is an interesting example of harmful caregiving. With Munchausen Syndrome, a parent or caregiver exaggerates, fabricates, or causes a medical condition like an illness or injury in a child or someone else in his or her care.

This is a type of child abuse because the parent or caregiver often seeks unnecessary and potentially harmful medical care for the child. Thus, the child is the victim. This isn’t an easy type of abuse to spot. Thus, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basics of Munchausen Syndrome and how it victimizes children.

The Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome

Parents or caregivers who have Munchausen Syndrome typically have a deep-rooted need for attention. In their efforts to get attention, they may purposefully poison a child, fail to provide adequate food and water, or even induce conditions such as infections. The parent’s true motivations may be hard to uncover, and so many child victims of Munchausen Syndrome don’t get the protection they need.

Parents with Munchausen Syndrome may also exhibit signs such as becoming overly involved in the child’s medical treatment and seeming to enjoy being at the hospital or doctor’s office. Child victims may be malnourished, subject to chronic infections, or show an inability to speak up to doctors and other authorities.

The Cause and Effect

The cause of Munchausen Syndrome is little understood; although many experts agree the perpetrator of the abuse (i.e. parent or caregiver) has a pathological need for attention. Many perpetrators were also abused as children. A child victim can suffer physically from unneeded medical treatment. A child might also suffer psychologically, as perpetrators commonly silence and ignore legitimate cries for help.

While Munchausen Syndrome is difficult to spot, parents are still reported. If you are facing allegations of child abuse involving your child’s health, you could benefit from working with an experienced New Jersey child abuse defense attorney. An attorney can inform you of your rights and help you protect them in the face of your allegations.

Do you need child abuse defense in New Jersey? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help you in matters involving the DCPP. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.



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