The statistics, unveiled under FOI, have been called ‘alarming’ by NSPCC
Almost 5,000 children – including babies – disappeared from council care
19 babies have vanished for months at a time, the figures reveal
Almost 5,000 children – including babies – have disappeared from council care in the past two years, new figures have revealed.
Nineteen babies have vanished for months at a time, and one infant – just a few months old – has still not been found two years later.
The figures have been unveiled under a freedom of information request.
Almost 5,000 children – including babies – have disappeared from council care in the past two years, new figures have revealed
They show that 4,852 looked-after children were reported missing between January 2012 and December 2013, the Sunday Times reports.
There were 24,320 cases logged – as many disappeared more than once. The large majority were teenagers but dozens of those who disappeared were between four and nine years old.
The number includes a one-year-old girl missing since July 2013.
Kent County Council reported the most children missing – with 458 children disappearing on 2,623 occasions.
Peter Oakford, Kent County Council cabinet member for specialist children’s services, said: ‘It is always a huge concern when children and young people go missing, even if just for a few hours.
‘In Kent, we face particular issues due to being a port authority and receive the highest number of unaccompanied minors in the UK.
‘When unaccompanied asylum seeker children arrive from abroad, we don’t know what sort of ordeals they have gone through on their journey. They are scared and many have been told by traffickers to run away and meet contacts when they arrive in England.’
‘Children in care are vulnerable and KCC offers them all the support and care they need but they are not locked up. When a child goes missing, we work closely with the police to find the child but we also need the government and other authorities to help us to address these wider issues including breaking down international trafficking networks which can lead to vulnerable children going missing.
The second highest number was in Nottinghamshire where 215 children disappeared.
In Hertfordshire there were 209 missing children.
Tom Rahilly, head of strategy for looked-after children at the NSPCC, told the paper: ‘When children and young people in care go missing it should be no different to when any other child disappears from home. This is very alarming.’
He said children may disappear because the parent decides to remove them without going through the proper channels, and often teenage mothers in care decide to leave with their child.
The Department for Education said it had improved guidance to councils regarding children missing from care. FOUND HERE
Nearly 90 Scots reported missing every day with some not seen for decades.
More than 37,000 missing person reports are made in Scotland every year..
People describe it like being a torture
Karen Robinson, is the head of partnerships and development at Missing People
Of these, around 32,000 of these calls go on to form a police inquiry – at a cost of between £30m to £80m to Scotland’s national force.
It is not clear exactly how many individuals these calls relate to but it is accepted that thousands of families in Scotland experience the anguish of a vanished love one – and that torturous state of not knowing if they are safe or at harm.
Thankfully, more than 99 per cent of those who vanish will be returned safe and well, with the majority of missing people in the UK either home or in contact within 48 hours (85 per cent).
But missing persons lists still contain people who have not made contact with their loved ones months or years – and in some cases decades.
More than 600 cases are open in Scotland of people who classed as long-term missing – those who have been gone for 28 days or more.
The missing list in Scotland includes Heather Thompson, a 27-year-old hairdresser from Inverness who was last seen leaving her home on January 19, 1994.
Blond-haired and blue-eyed toddler Sandy Davidson also appears. He was just two-years-old when he vanished from his grandmother’s back garden in Irvine on April 23 1976.
Meanwhile, the missing persons case of Mary Ferns also remains open. She was 88 when last seen heading to Almondvale Shopping Centre in Livingston, West Lothian, with the help of her floral-pattern walking stick on Tuesday June 17, 2008
More recently, Shaun Ritchie, 20, from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire,has not been seen since October 31, 2014, after last being with friends near a farmhouse in Strichen. A huge search of surrounding bog land has found no trace of the man, and his father believes he has been murdered.
While just half-a-percent of those who go missing in Scotland are found dead, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary last June found that Police Scotland have 300 unidentified bodies in their charge and 65 unidentified body parts dating back to 1950.
More people go missing from hospital and children’s homes than anywhere else in Scotland and the top 100 repeat missing-from locations account for almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of all missing episodes recorded by police.
Karen Robinson, is the head of partnerships and development at Missing People, a nationwide charity which acts as an independent support service for those who have gone missing and the friends and family of the vanished.
She said: “The most straightforward explanation is that when someone goes missing, it’s a sign that something is wrong. The most common reasons are that the persons is having problems at home or work or school .
“There is a very high prevalence of mental health problems – both diagnosed and undiagnosed – amongst those who go missing.
Ms Robinson added: “If someone goes missing by just walking out the house and they just felt they needed to escape, they may not have been thinking these they wanted to get away for very long.
“AS time goes on, it gets harder to return and it can leave people in a risky situation. People may feel they can’t call home, they don’t know where to turn to next, That is where we come in.”
Ms Robinson said that much work had been done with Police Scotland in the past year on improving the way it works with organisations such as Missing People.
Police Scotland requested that Missing People – which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery – send out a text message to the most vulnerable of missing people 160 times in the past year. Read in full here
Missing persons Scottish Govt
More than 30,000 missing persons cases are handled by Police Scotland every year.
Although most people are found or return safe and well, going missing can indicate underlying issues. Missing people are also at more risk of harm.
There are recognised links between going missing and child sexual exploitation, trafficking, mental health, and other issues such as domestic abuse and family breakdown.
It is a complex issue and that is why we are working jointly with a range of agencies including Police Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, Missing People and Shelter Scotland to develop a National Missing Persons Strategy.
Acting as a focus for partners to work together to deliver change, it will support preventative approaches, and strengthen the response to cases while supporting and protecting missing people.
The Strategy – structured around four key themes of Prevention, Response, Support and Protection – will help to raise awareness of the many causes of going missing, and of the associated dangers.
50 formal responses to the consultation were submitted, and further feedback was received through social media, and through local consultation events across Scotland which reached about 250 stakeholders. An evaluation of the feedback received was carried out and a full report developed. Read in full here
- Where Are Our Bairns? Scotland’s Missing Kids
- Police Scotland Missing Persons
- Missing Kids UK
- Missing People UK