Missing from Home or Care

Although the majority of children and young people who go missing return of their own accord,  or are found quickly, all children and young people who go missing irrespective of the amount of time that they are missing for, are at risk.

Children and young people whilst missing from home or care may experience physical and /or emotional abuse, additionally they are more likely to engage in risk taking and self-harming behaviour, they may find themselves sleeping rough,  engaging in offending behaviour in order to survive, whilst also feeling fear and loneliness. As a consequence of being missing, their education, family and social relationships and life chances often suffer.

Missing children and young people are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, violent crime, drug and alcohol misuse  and exploitation, including sexual exploitation. Significant evidence highlights that children and young people who go missing from home or care are at increased risk of being at risk of, or experiencing sexual exploitation and that missing, as either a cause or consequence, is a direct risk indicator of child sexual exploitation.

It is essential that all partner agencies act rigorously to reduce incidents of children going missing, to locate a missing child and ensure that they are returned to a safe environment, and work together to reduce the likelihood of future missing incidents.

Statutory guidance on children who runaway or go missing from home or care