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20/01/19 00:01

Supporting young people at risk of going missing

Raising awareness of the risks of running away.

Two leading charities are joining forces to develop materials to educate children and young people about the dangers of going missing and encourage them to access support.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham has announced that Missing People and Barnardo’s have been jointly awarded £30,000 to develop the new resource in consultation with children and young people and Education Scotland.

The project supports the goals of Scotland’s National Missing Persons Framework, which aims to improve the way agencies and organisations work together to support vulnerable people and help prevent individuals from running away.

Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said:

“Almost 23,000 missing person investigations were conducted by Police Scotland in 2017-18 – nearly two-thirds involving children and young people. Whether young people are struggling with their mental health or experiencing difficulties at home, it is important that they understand the dangers of running away and can access professional help and support so they know going missing is not their only option.

“The vast majority of missing people are returned safe within 48 hours but we are determined to continue to improve how we safeguard and support the most vulnerable. That is more important than ever at this time of year when the end of the festive period can give way to stresses and strains in relationships.”

Susannah Drury, Director of Policy for Missing People said:

“Only 1 in 20 young people in Scotland who run away reach out for professional help. Most young people simply don’t know that support is available to help them stay safe including Missing People’s 24/7 free and confidential Runaway Helpline.

“So, we are delighted to be working with Barnardo’s Scotland and young people themselves to develop this resource that will inform young people about how they can stay safe and get the support they need if they are thinking about running away or have been reported missing.”

Daljeet Dagon, National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation for Barnardo’s Scotland, said:

“We’re very pleased to be working with Missing People and young people to develop this new resource. The experience and perspective that young people bring to the resource will ensure it is tailored for the right audience and has the most impact.”

Background

National Missing Persons Framework

In 2017/18, 64% of Police Scotland missing persons investigations related to a missing child or young person.

Many organisations are involved in work relating to missing people. Depending on the circumstances, these may include local authority social work departments, Police Scotland, housing providers, hospitals, care homes for the elderly, children's homes, schools, or a range of third sector organisations which support vulnerable people, communities and victims of crime.

The resources are expected to launch in Autumn 2019.