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If you see a missing child call 116 000If you see a missing child call 116 000

Advice for Practitioners

What is CEOP's role?

CEOP’s role in this area will build on our existing strengths and expertise. The main areas we will focus on include:

  •  raising public awareness of the issues associated with missing children;
  • developing strategic knowledge of missing children;
  • providing practitioners with the knowledge, resources and skills to further their professional development; and
  • offering tactical support on complex cases to police forces.

CEOP will not be taking reports from members of the public who wish to report a child missing; these should continue to be reported to the local police service in whose area the child went missing.

Follow the links below to find out more about national organisations working in the area, and local support services available.

National services...

There are a number of different organisations who offer advice and support to young people, parents and practitioners

Barnado's

Barnardo's has a number of dedicated services to identify and support young people who go missing from home or from care. These services respond to reports of missing young people, contacting the young people when they do return to offer help in addressing why they went missing and raising awareness of the risks and how to keep safe. Young people can also contact their missing services directly. The workers continue to engage with young people even if they go missing on many occasions, and will work with other agencies to access wider support. Most of Barnardo's sexual exploitation services also work with young people who go missing and will either provide specialist support directly or refer the young person to a Barnardo's missing project. The dedicated missing services will also refer the young person to a Barnardo's sexual exploitation service if they are thought to be at risk.

ChildLine

ChildLine is the UK’s free, confidential 24-hour helpline for children and young people. The 0800 1111 number is free to call and does not show up on bills. Children can also chat with a trained volunteer counsellor online or speak to other young people on the message boards online.

Children’s Society

The Children’s Society runs a network of specialist programmes for young runaways and children at risk of sexual exploitation. They offer a range of services from intensive one-to one support and advocacy; return interviews; prevention and education activities in schools; training and consultancy; family mediation and parenting support. The Children’s Society have campaigned to help young runaways for over 25 years using their national practice base and extensive research to find solutions that empower children to keep safe.

Missing People

Missing People can support practitioners in a variety of ways: operationally, or by being an agency for services users to be signposted to.

At the request of Police, Social Services, families and carers Missing People will publicise cases of missing children, which can be helpful in the search for a child, as well as offering the family advice and support during this difficult time. Missing People can be contacted free on 116 000, email 116000@missingpeople.org.uk or Click here to complete Missing People’s online referral form.

If you are looking for a local service for a young person you are working with, you could try Missing People’s Turn2Directory of local services. Currently, there are over 600 different projects listed on this directory of local services; ranging from small local projects to national helplines. 

The support provided by Missing People for children who have run away, or are thinking about it, are all available confidentially, for free and 24/7. Children can call them on 116 000, text 116 000 or email 116000@missingpeople.org.uk

Missing People also offer support, advice and practical help to families affected by a child going missing from home. They offer support 24 hours a day. You can encourage people to contact for free on 116 000, or email 116000@missingpeople.org.uk

The Missing Persons Bureau

The Missing Persons Bureau is the UK national and international point of contact for all missing adults and unidentified body cases. The Bureau is also a centre for information exchange and expertise on missing person issues. They currently provide integrated operational services for all missing people, including children, in support of law enforcement and other agencies. The Bureau also holds the missing persons operational policy lead for the Government.

NSPCC

The NSPCC Helpline provides advice and support to adults who are concerned about the safety or welfare of a child. Helpline advisors are available 24/7 on 0808 800 5000, or by email, text, online or post. It also provides services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people and non-English speakers. Visit the NSPCC website for more information.

NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (CTAIL)

If you have concerns over a child who has been trafficked into the UK and has gone missing from care, you should ensure that the child has been reported missing to the appropriate police force. If you require any additional guidance or advice relating to a specific case, you can contact the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (CTAIL) on 0800 107 7057 (09:00 – 17:00).

PACT - Parents and Abducted Children, Together

PACT's main goal is to fight parental child abduction across frontiers by raising awareness of a growing, but little-known, problem and by lobbying for better laws to protect children. PACT has been a driving force behind major changes to laws and practices in the UK, US, France and the EU. Today, the charity has broadened its mission to include all children who go missing for whatever reason. It is influential in advocacy, policy-making and research. It is a member of the Government's Strategic Oversight Group on missing persons. PACT does not provide front-line services, such as a 24.7 help line, but its website offers interactive advice on what parents or carers should do if their children have been abducted or fear that they will be abducted. PACT has particular expertise on the Hague Convention.

Railway Children

Railway Children exists to help and work with vulnerable children all over the world who have become detached from their families and are at risk on the streets where they suffer abuse and exploitation.

Their objective is to provide relief to children who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress and in particular to those living on the streets. Since their inception in 1995, they have helped thousands of children and young people in the UK and many more in other countries who are living alone and at risk on the streets.

Early intervention is a crucial aspect of their success. It’s all about reaching out to street kids and getting to them before the street or an abuser does.

Local services...

There are a wide range of organisations who offer advice and support to young people, parents and practitioners locally.

Local Barnardo’s services

Barnardo’s runs specialist sexual exploitation projects that offer a safe, confidential environment where young people can go for help, advice and support. A list of these local services can be found by clicking here.

Safe @ Last

SAFE@LAST is a registered charity working with and on behalf of young people at risk through running away. They are based at Dinnington, near Sheffield and were established in response to an acute need for services for the 1 in 9 children under the age of 16 in South Yorkshire who are affected. They currently operate:

  • SAFE place Children’s Refuge - opened in April 2007 and based at a confidential location in South Yorkshire.
  • Children’s Helpline (Call, Text, Webchat) 0800 335 SAFE – operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (by SAFE@LAST staff and volunteers 9.30am-8pm and by the National Runaways Helpline out of these hours).
  • MISPER (Missing Persons) Project – working closely with South Yorkshire Police, SAFE@LAST Project Workers support children at risk of running away with the many and varied issues and problems that lead them to go missing.
  • Education – they regularly gives talks and presentations to children at a variety of schools, highlighting the helpline number.
  • Street to Schools work – working with children and young people whose running away or going missing disrupts their education.
  • Detached Street Work – working on the street of Sheffield delivering targeted youth work to young people.

Turn2 Directory

Missing People run the Turn2Directory of local services. Currently, there are over 600 different projects housed on this directory of local services; ranging from small local projects to national helplines. More information can be found by clicking here.

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