On International Missing Children's Day (25 May) a new free helpline (116 000) and website (www.missingkids.co.uk)....
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International Missing Childrens Day 25 May 2012

Posted on May 25, 2012

This article was published in May 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceOn International Missing Children's Day (25 May) a new free helpline (116 000) and website (www.missingkids.co.uk) will be launched to help the hundreds of thousands of children who go missing every year, reconnect to a place of safety, bringing together the combined efforts of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) and Missing People.

The confidential helpline - 116000 - is a 24 hour support service which missing children and their families can call or text to get access to advice and support.

The website will provide: 
The latest appeals on missing children; information for children who are missing or who are thinking of running away; and information on what their families and carers can do if a child in their care goes missing.

Both initiatives are a response to the Government's Missing Children and Adults Strategy, launched in December 2011.
The launch of these new services will be the focus of a formal Downing Street reception on Wednesday 23 May. Hosted by the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa May, supporters and campaigners will be joined by key organisations and celebrities in order to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of children who go missing every year.

The launch of the 116 000 helpline, provided by Missing People, will be supported by a TV, cinema and outdoor advertising campaign by creative agency BBH, which has been made possible thanks to the generous support of ICAP, Cinema Exhibitors Association and the Outdoor Media Centre and its members. On 25 May, hundreds of London taxis will raise awareness of missing children with appeals in the back of their cabs organised by PACT, including for Andrew Gosden, who went missing in September 2007 at the age of 14. He was last seen at London's Kings Cross Station.

The new www.missingkids.co.uk website, brings together a range of support services connected to helping missing children, including educational materials developed by CEOP. It is part of their work in providing a dedicated national lead on missing children, announced by the Home Secretary in 2011. The launch of the website is being supported by an outdoor advertising campaign organised by PACT that will include bus shelters, where young, missing children may well see the important messages around these vital support services. 

In the lead up to events surrounding International Missing Children's Day, Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone met with young people to hear about their experiences of running away and going missing. During a visit to The Children's Society in Islington last week, she met with the teenagers, who have been supported by the charity's work around the country.

As part of the Government's continued commitment to providing support for families of missing children and adults, the Home Office continue to provide grant funding to support delivery of the charity's helpline and case publicity work. This has been £220,000 during this financial year.

Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities and Criminal Information said:

"Missing children and their families are vulnerable, and International Missing Children's Day reminds us of the role we all have to play in protecting and supporting them.

"Government has set a clear direction for this with our Missing Children and Adults strategy, calling on local and national organisations to prevent, protect and provide support for missing children and their families.

"I am delighted to be marking this year's event by supporting the launch of two excellent support services which will offer real support to children who need it."

Peter Davies, Chief Executive at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre said:

"By the very act of going missing, children are made more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.  Getting timely and relevant help and information to missing children and their families is a vital part of safeguarding those most vulnerable.  The new website and help line do just that by providing the channels for them to reconnect to a place of safety. 

"As the national law enforcement lead for missing children, it is important that CEOP continues to better understand the reasons why children go missing and work with the child protection community as a whole, to help them find help to deal with the often complex underlying issues in their lives, ultimately reducing the incidences of missing children in the UK."

Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive of Missing People says:

"Disappearances such as Madeleine McCann's tragically demonstrated the need for coordination across the world when a child goes missing; 116 000 is introduced so that people can call when someone disappears regardless of which EU country they are in. The launch in the UK has been made possible by ICAP."

The Founder and Chief Executive of PACT, Lady Catherine Meyer, said:

"With over 140,000 children going missing in the UK each year – more than one every five minutes – PACT is delighted with this major breakthrough.  With the re-launch of the Missingkids website, and CEOP's taking responsibility for and abducted children, we finally have the tools to bring hope to those whose children have gone missing or been abducted.

"The important thing now is to raise public awareness of the website. This is why, thanks to the support of ICAP Charity Day, PACT is producing hundreds of posters. It has also commissioned a fleet of specially branded black cabs to drop off and pick up guests at a No. 10 Downing Street reception to mark International Missing Children's Day, to be hosted by the Home Secretary, the Right Hon Theresa May"

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