What To Do If Your Child Is Missing
Contact the police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency
“At Risk” categories
- Under 16 years old
- Has expressed feelings of suicide
- Has been acting totally out of character
- Suffers from mental health issues
- Has been suffering from increased stress
- Is suffering from an illness or a physical disability
- Has a learning disability
- Is in need of regular medication/care
- Is an addict
What information will the police ask for?
- Personal details about the missing person; full name, date of birth, description, home address, school/employment details.
- Details relating to the disappearance; your last contact with your child, what they were wearing when they disappeared, any details relating to possible reasons behind their disappearance.
- What actions have you taken to locate your child?
- Have they been missing before?
- Any factors that might put the missing person at risk, for example; the missing person is under 18, has physical or mental health issues/suicide/self-harm or has a drug or alcohol dependency.
- Is your child on essential medication? What happens if they don’t take their meds
- Police may ask for personal items belonging to the missing person if they are left behind, for example; mobile phones, diaries, laptops.
- Police are also likely to want to visit the person’s address to carry out a routine search, this is a usual occurrence.
Other things you can do
- Think about what your child was wearing when you last saw them. Was the missing planned for example have they taken any extra clothes?
- What have they taken with them, eg mobile phone, money, bank cards, any items of sentimental value?
- Check your home computers for any leads such as online contacts or details of planned meetings.
- After you have completed the above checks, close the door to your child’s room and don’t touch anything in there.
- Find out if any of your child’s friends are missing.
- Have a recent photograph available (the police may need it).
- Keep a record of everyone you contact, including the date and time, the name of person and/ or organisation, and any phone numbers received.
- Keep your phone on and keep a record of any calls; this may be the only way your child can reach you.
- Check telephone bills for the past few months for any unfamiliar calls.
When your child returns
- Contact the police: Let them know that your child has returned.
- If you suspect that a crime has been committed against your child, explain your suspicions to the police, ask them to attend without delay and follow any instructions that they give you. For example you may be asked to collect your child’s underwear and store it in a paper bag
- Show your child that you’re happy to have them back home: Many children fear the initial meeting with their parents.
- Remain calm, tell your child you love them and that together you will solve any problems.
- Allow them time to settle in: Your child may need a meal, clean clothes, or to go to sleep.
- Get medical attention: Bring your child to your family doctor to address any medical concerns.
- Talk with your child: Discuss how you can work together to prevent them from leaving again. Acknowledge that some issues take time and effort to resolve.
- Get assistance and support.