The Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy

Submitted By KatiePortalatin
Words: 1552
Pages: 7

Patricia Portalatin
Professor Samra
5 April 2013
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy The Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MBP) is a controversial condition in the society. The condition involves a behavioral pattern, whereby, a caregiver constantly feigns illness for children under their care (Day and Moseley 14). MBP is controversial since it can cause legal dilemmas, especially when the individual who committed the crime suffers from the disease. In order to comprehend the significance of the condition from a criminology perspective, it is crucial to determine what the condition translates to in the legal scenario. This requires an analysis of the experienced cases regarding suspects with the condition and on what the law’s interpretation was in these scenarios. Despite the reality that individuals suffering from the Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy may be involved in serious crimes, sentencing the individuals is a challenge for the criminology system. The trial of such individuals who have done heinous crimes can be a challenge. This is evident in the cases where individuals with antisocial disorders are on trial. The English High Court experienced this problem in 2007. Fourteen years earlier the court sentenced Beverly Allit to life imprisonment (Freckelton 165). This was after she murdered four children and attempted to do the same for three others. She was also guilty of harming six other children. People argued that she should have received a minimal sentence because of her condition, and that she should be made eligible for parole. It was this public insistence that sparked the controversy (Freckelton 165). Consistent with the syndrome the victims in this case were children under the care of Allit. This MBP sufferer was guilty of injecting the children with drugs, air, and even suffocating them in some instances. The aforementioned scenario is a controversy experienced by criminologists to determine the gravity of the condition in criminology. It is crucial to analyze the condition and how it leads to criminality. Considering the facts in such a scenario, it is easy to rule that the defendant deserved the punishment. However, to gain more perspective on the case detailed information about the condition is vital. The condition is a fictitious state experienced by individuals that can be attributed to a mental illness. In this scenario, the sufferer pretends to care for an individual despite the individual being healthy. This is associated with individuals involved in the direct care of people dependent on them, including mothers, hospital staff, and other caregivers. The individuals in the scenario are mostly adults and the victims are usually children under six years of age. The individuals appear to achieve some form of gratification from their actions in the deceptive relationship they create with the patient (Day and Moseley 14). MBP is a form of child abuse, as the caregiver subjects the children to pain and dangers that may be detrimental to their health and in some instances even cause death. The motive of the caregivers is to acquire some psychological or emotional gratification from their actions. Receiving the sympathy and support provided by family, friends, and society achieves the desired gratification. The individuals desire to be viewed as heroic or aggrieved when they attend to their victims. They believe that their actions in dealing with the consequent condition of the victim results in acclaim from the society. The feeling augments with the seriousness of the condition experienced by the victim. The people who suffer from MBP replicate symptoms associated with conditions which are life threatening. The caregivers in this scenario are the culprits in inducing the symptoms to the victim in a situation that threatens the life of the victim and cause physical discomfort for the child (Reading 650). This situation is consistent with the aforementioned case. The victim then receives constant