Children go missing from home, care or education for a number of reasons, some of which are often varied and complex. Those young people who go missing may place themselves and others at risk. As well as short-term risks there can be long term implications for these children.
Current research findings estimate that 25 per cent of children and young people, who go missing are likely to suffer significant harm. There are specific concerns about the links between children running away and the risks of sexual exploitation. Many looked after children missing from their placements are vulnerable to sexual and other exploitation, especially children in residential care.
Specific Risks to Children who go Missing:
- Children at Risk of Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
- 16 / 17 Year Olds who Run Away and may Become Homeless
- Trafficking / Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Young People
- Protecting Children at Risk of Radicalisation
- Children at Risk of being Drawn into Offending Behaviour
Responding to Children and Young People who go Missing?
Dorset agencies have a commitment to safeguarding those young people who go missing and put themselves at risk of exploitation and other forms of harm. There is a commitment for every child who goes missing to attract the proper attention from the professionals involved with the young person. This includes independent return interviews for any young person who goes missing more than once.
Refer to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children Procedures for guidance on what to do if a child or young person goes missing.