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
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
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!
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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