THE IRISH SOCIETY for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has opened its 116 000 Missing Children’s Hotline today.
The hotline will report missing juveniles to the relevant authorities such as the gardaí, accept tips about missing children, and provide emotional support to the parents of missing children and missing children themselves.
The 116 000 Hotline is now available in 20 EU countries, and the Irish version has been set up following a grant from European Daphne as well as funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
At the moment, the hotline is opened on a phased basis for 18 hours per day from 22:00-16:00 but the ISPCC hopes it will open 24/7 by March next year.
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs explains how it works:
By calling the 116000 number, family members of a missing child, whether the child has been abducted, run away, lost or taken by a parent, and the child themselves can get advice and support to help them get through the worry and stress they endure during such an emotionally difficult time.
The number had been reserved in Ireland for over four years before the licence was allocated in January and ISPCC CEO Ashley Balbirnie said they are delighted it is finally open:
We believe that this hotline will provide support to the statutory authorities and to children and families, whether the child has run away or been abducted by a stranger or someone they know. The ISPCC is delighted that after years of advocating, that this hotline is finally up and running.