Missing Persons Guidance: One Minute Guide

What is Missing? 

Did you know that over 80,00 children and young people are reported missing each year in the UK.  Young people go missing for a variety of reasons including difficulties at home, school or due to friendships and peer networks.   When a young person goes missing, they may be at risk of serious harm, research estimates that 25% of children and young people who go missing are likely to suffer significant harm.

You Have a Statutory Responsibility….

The Children Act 2004 requires local authorities to ensure their functions are discharged with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children-  this includes planning to prevent children from going missing and to do everything possible to ensure the safe return when they go missing.  The local authority must ensure that all incidents of missing or missing from placement are appropriately assessed and screened and Return Home Interviews are offered within 72 hours of the person being found.   Missing episodes must be reported. 

Missing and Exploitation- How You Can Help

You can help Devon and Cornwall Police in their role disrupting perpetrators of exploitation by reporting soft intelligence.   As a professional who knows the young person/child you provide and may hold valuable knowledge that might keep the young person safe from harm.  The single most important action you can take to protect children is to share information and report any concerns you may have.  This can be done by using Devon and Cornwall Police’s Partner Agency Information Sharing Form.  However, remember that this form does not replace existing safeguarding activity- if you have immediate/ significant concerns contact The MASH or The Police directly.

Remember….. Child Exploitation is abuse!

Information Sharing

The  local authority should consult with the Police who are the lead agency for investigating and finding missing children and young people

Remember…..you don’t have to wait 24 hrs to report a missing episode, you can make a report to the Police as soon as you or persons responsible for the young person, have taken reasonable steps to locate.  In the first instance report a missing person by calling 101 or dialling 999 in an emergency

Care Experienced and Looked After Children

Remember……young people who are care experienced or LAC  are particularly vulnerable when missing


The Benefits of Completing Return Home Interviews 


·        Identify if a child or young person at risk

·        Identify if a child or young person suffered harm

·        Help understand the reasons why the person went missing

·        Help understand the risks and issues the child or young person faced whilst missing

·        Help disrupt and prevent or reduce risks of further missing episodes

·        Provide the young person with better undertanding of risks assocaited with missing

·        Provice the young person with information and resources on how to keep and stay safe]

·        Enable professionals to develop a plan of support

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