Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Until recently the physician or mental health professional asked to perform a forensic evaluation or give testimony in a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) has faced a daunting task. Here are a few of the issues that have confused and perplexed the evaluator:
● Is there such a thing as MSBP? ● Is it an illness? ● If it is an illness, is there a commonly agreed-upon
definition? ● Does the term MSBP refer to the child, the perpetrator
adult, or both? ● Are there mild forms of MSBP for which child protec-
tive services are not required? ● Is MSBP common, or extremely rare? ● Is MSBP often fatal? ● If MSBP does not exist, does that mean the child does
not need protection? ● If the parent has MSBP (a mental illness), does this con-
stitute a mitigating factor against the determination that a crime has been committed?