• Today, 25th May marks the International Missing Children’s Day.  In the European Union, 250,000 children are reported missing every year, 1 child every 2 minutes. Who do you call for help? To support children and families at this crucial time, a hotline for missing children was set up in Europe available through the same number in 31 countries: 116 000.  

    The hotline provides emotional, psychological, social, legal and administrative support 24/7. 

    Runaway Cases

    Children running away or forced out of home or care institutions were between the ages of 6 and 17 years old, with the highest number of children reported running away at the age of 15.

    46% of the runaways reported to hotlines in 2016 were found in the same year.

    17.24% of children running away spent between a week to a month on the run while 8.74% spent between 1-6+ months away from home.

    Parental Abduction Cases

    Some 2.1 million marriages take place in the EU each year4, of which 1 in 12 are mixed marriages.

    Children abducted by a parent were between 0 and 17 years old, with a peak at age 6.
    26% of children abducted by a parent in 2016 were found the same year.

    Missing Migrant Children Cases

    In 2015, at least 10 000 unaccompanied migrant children have disappeared within hours of being registered and only a handful have been found since, says Europol.

    Children in migration, of which a majority were unaccompanied, have been reported missing
    from under a year up to 17 years of age. In Italy and Greece, several young girls under the age of 18 have been reported to give birth shortly after arrival in the reception centre, or to arrive with infants, only to disappear from the reception centre with their infants shortly after arrival. The peak age of migrant children going missing has fallen to 13 years of age from 15-16 years in 2015.

    31% of (unaccompanied) migrant children who went missing were found in 2016.

    Criminal Abduction Cases

    Nearly 1 in 100 children reported a stranger tried to get them to go somewhere, like into a car, and they thought they might be hurt.

    33% of children abducted by a third party were found in 2016.

    Children Reported Missin in Malta

    In 2016, as many as 111 children went missing. A large number of these cases involve adolescents who fail to return home when expected. In all instances of children going missing, the children were found and returned home.

    Data provided by Missing Children Europe