Today, 25 May, is International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) and ACT Policing is using the occasion to highlight the importance of community support when a young person goes missing.
In a media statement, ACT Policing said that young people are vulnerable members of the Canberra community and the public play a vital role in locating a missing child.
So far this year, there have been 136 reports of missing children in the ACT, all of which are currently resolved. Last year, 319 under the age of 18 went missing, with almost all located within 24 hours.
In a media statement, Detective Superintendent Jamey Bellicanta from ACT Policing said public assistance was vital in ensuring a child’s safety.
“It’s very distressing for family and friends when a young person goes missing, and it is important that young people are found quickly because of the risk to their health and safety,” said Detective Superintendent Bellicanta.
“There is no ‘typical missing child’ – there are many reasons for a child to go missing.
“Some children are experiencing complex personal, social or environmental issues, while others may be in situations where they feel they can’t cope or the world would be better off without them. They may be living at home, with extended family or in out-of-home care.
“Regardless of their living arrangements or their personal issues – no child should feel alone. And no child should feel there isn’t support and care available to them,” he said.
“On this IMCD, ACT Policing is urging the public to assist when we publicise a missing child. Each little bit of information, each social media share and each call to police about a missing child’s location brings us closer to finding the child and ensuring they are safe and well,” said Detective Superintendent Bellicanta.
Missing children deserve a reunion
Nationally, approximately three in five missing persons reports relate to a child or young person under the age of 18.
The Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) is marking IMCD 2020 with a creative campaign which includes a short video themed #MissingChildrenDeserveAReunionToo.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Northern Command, Lesa Gale, said the video expresses that the experience of missing friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic is all too familiar for families of missing children.
“It is as important as ever that we mark IMCD in 2020 to honour missing children, offer support to their families, pay tribute to victims of crime and celebrate those children who have found their way home,” Assistant Commissioner Gale said.
“The short video is a powerful reminder that while the COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing measures have been challenging for all of us, we know they will soon pass.
“For the loved ones of missing children, there can sometimes be no end to their separation, loneliness and helplessness. The loved ones of long-term missing are forever awaiting their reunion.”
In addition to the short video – which can be viewed here [ http://www.facebook.com/AFPNMPCC/videos/2402945219997084/ ] – the AFP’s NMPCC has developed a digital campaign to spread awareness of IMCD 2020, the need to remember missing children and continue seeking their safe return. The campaign features the faces of 49 of Australia’s long-term missing children.
To raise awareness of the issue of missing children and assist police with their investigations you can:
- Download a kit of child safety tips for parents [ https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/MissingTips.pdf ].
- Help share the AFP’s International Missing Children’s Day message on Facebook www.facebook.com/AFPNMPCC.
- Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you have information relating to a missing child. The profiles can be viewed on www.missingpersons.gov.au
For more on the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, visit www.missingpersons.gov.au