Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
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A child goes missing in the UK every 3 minutes...

International Missing Children’s Day (25th May 2012) commemorated the missing children who have found their way home, remember those who have been victims of crime and continue efforts to find those who are still missing.

A reception held on Wednesday (May 23) at Downing Street, hosted by the Home Secretary, brought together supporters and campaigners joined by key organisations and celebrities in order to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of children who go missing every year.1 2

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Missing children are vulnerable and deserve the best support and protection we can provide.

“We in government have played our part with our Missing Children and Adults Strategy, which sets the direction for local services. And on last year’s International Missing Children’s Day we announced that we were strengthening our response by moving operational responsibility for missing children to CEOP from July 1 last year.

“I am delighted that, a year on, we are able to support the launch of the new MissingKids website in partnership with PACT, as well as Missing People’s new 116 000 helpline. Both services will bring much needed support to those most in need of help.”

Other key activities taking place on the day included: -

  • The launch of a new help line (116 000) to support missing children and their families
  • The launch of a new website ( to 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
  • The Big Tweet for Missing Children, where celebrities including Stephen Fry, Lord Sugar and Katie Price will help to share information on appeals via Twitter. The charity Missing People will tweet a different appeal for a missing child every 30 minutes for 24 hours and encourage their followers to retweet as many as possible.
  • The launch of an interactive new cinema and TV advertising campaign by Missing People, provided by BBH, designed to raise awareness of the 116000 service3. 
  • A stakeholder event held at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre on Friday (May 25) will bring specialists and policy makers together with the child protection and law enforcement communities to highlight improvements and achievement made to tackle the complex issues around missing children.4 Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone, who leads on the government’s Missing Children and Adults Strategy, will open the event.

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 said:

"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".

1 327,000 incidences of missing people were recorded by the police in 2010-2011 and children and young people make up 66% of all recorded missing incidences (NPIA report ‘Missing Persons: Data and Analysis April 2012 –­_Persons_Data_and_Analysis_2010-11.pdf)

2 Images are available from the Press Association

3 To view the advert visit and PR stills from the advert are available here

4 Interview and photo opportunities are available to media – contact CEOP Press Office on 0870 000 3434

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