THE NEED TO show support to the parents and families of missing children has been highlighted by the ISPCC on International Missing Children’s Day, a day of remembrance and solidarity for affected people across the world.
Describing a child going missing as “every parent’s nightmare”, the society explained that the parents of a missing child “find themselves in a situation incomparable to any other; pain, fear, frustration, isolation, powerlessness, guilt, loss, loneliness and anger are just some of the emotions and feelings experienced by this group”.
The ISPCC said that children go missing across the world every day for a variety of reasons and, while the immediate and urgent response by the authorities is to locate a child, more support also needed to be given to the families of a missing young people.
In 2012, the ISPCC established the 116 000 Missing Children’s Hotline in Ireland; this 24/7 hotline will be officially launched by the ISPCC and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on 7 June. The service will primarily provide advice and support to family members of a missing child and to the child themselves.
“The ISPCC believe this is a vital service for missing children and their families, whether the child has been abducted, run away, is lost or taken by a parent. We are delighted that after years of advocating for this missing hotline service in conjunction with our colleagues in Missing Children Europe, that it has finally become a reality, this Hotline will greatly enhance the response to missing children and their families,” said ISPCC CEO Ashey Balbirnie.
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said she was “delighted” that Ireland now has a fully operational 24/7 hotline, to support the families of missing children and the children themselves. “During such a worrying and vulnerable time for all involved it is important that they receive as much support as possible and this service goes a long way to enhancing the levels of support available,” she said.
Missing Children Europe is the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children, which represents 28 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) active in 19 Member States of the European Union and Switzerland. Each of these organisations is active in cases of missing and/or sexually exploited children at grassroots level, including prevention and support for victims. www.missingchildreneurope.eu