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NCJ Number: 165017 Find in a Library
Title: Repeated False Allegations of Sexual Abuse Presenting to Sheriffs: When Is It Munchausen by Proxy?
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:20  Issue:10  Dated:(October 1996)  Pages:985-991
Author(s): H A Schreier
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 7
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This case of Munchausen by proxy (MBP) syndrome is presented to demonstrate the need for criminal justice and medical professionals to be familiar with the syndrome's signs in cases involving alleged child sexual abuse.
Abstract: The case involved the child Henry, who was 1.5 years old when his mother brought him to the emergency room and described suspected severe sexual abuse by his father. This report occurred in the context of an impending marital separation. Laboratory analysis revealed no semen on the diapers. The mother made repeated contacts with the sheriff investigator. Investigations did not confirm the abusive activity. The court threatened the mother with removal of her child if she did not stop making these allegations. She went to other jurisdictions and made similar allegations. The case demonstrates how agents of power can be drawn into the MBP process with these mothers. Possible clues of MBP rather than a wish for custody out of neediness or revenge include a lack of signs of psychological disturbance in the mother, repeated accusations to the police or child protective services without the expected physical findings, an insistence on the validity of the claims despite the lack of evidence, and lack of understanding of the child's needs when the child is in distress. More MBP cases involving criminal justice and medical professionals are likely; it is important to try to interrupt this process earlier than in the past due to its documented harm to children. 22 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Abusing parents; Child abuse detection; Child abuse investigations; Child Sexual Abuse; Child victim interviews; Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
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