A charity that supports missing people and their families has been given a £220,000 funding boost by the Home Office.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker has announced the Missing People charity is to receive the cash to help them continue their important work.
Missing children and adults
The money will go towards the operation of important support services, including a free and confidential 24-hour helpline and a text service to support missing children and adults, and their loved ones. This is a critical tool to enable missing people who are reluctant to get in touch with the police to access support and advice.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:
It is vital that we ensure that missing children and adults, and their families, are given the best possible protection and support - from government, police, local authorities and the voluntary sector.
Missing children and adults face a number of risks whilst missing, including the risk of child sexual exploitation. We want to reduce the number of people who go missing, while minimising the harm to those who do. We can do this by providing support and advice through referrals to organisations best placed to help.
That is why I am pleased to announce this funding for the Missing People charity, which carries out extremely valuable work - particularly helping children and those who are most vulnerable.
The Missing People charity also provides police forces with a single point of contact for publicity when a person is reported missing, maximising investigative opportunities and increasing the chances of a person being found.
Jo Youle, Chief Executive of Missing People, said:
This is excellent news for families of missing people, and for missing people themselves. The funds will support our charity to continue to be a lifeline when someone disappears, maintaining our capability and capacity to provide support and safeguarding services around the clock.
As a small national charity, committed to working in partnership with the police and other partners, we commend the government’s continued commitment to help vulnerable missing people and the loved ones left behind.
The funding announcement came as the minister chaired a round table meeting looking at how the response to missing people cases can be improved by all the agencies involved.
The annual meeting forms part of the Missing Children and Adults Cross-Government Strategy. Government representatives, the National Crime Agency, police, and representatives from the voluntary sector discussed the success of recently introduced measures and looked at how things can be further improved both a local and national level.
3 priorities were set for the coming year - improving data sharing between agencies to better protect children; recognising the important role of schools in identifying issues with children who go missing during the school day and working with health professionals and the police to ensure they are aware of the risks of missing vulnerable adults with mental health issues.
Improvements introduced in the last year as part of the strategy include:
- the introduction of new government guidance on cases involving children who go missing from home or care. This means that each child will now have the chance to talk to an independent person about why they ran away
- a focus on dealing with people with mental health issues and the importance of early intervention to prevent them from going missing. This includes the publication of the Crisis Care Concordat and the inclusion of missing people in Street Triage pilots - a service where mental health clinicians accompany police officers responding to those suffering from a mental health crisis
- the continued police roll out of their new approach to risk assessing and responding to missing persons reports, allowing resources to be directed to the cases that need them most
These initiatives - alongside many others - are helping to bring about successful outcomes in the search for over 300,000 missing people reported to police each year, as well as advice and support for their friends and family.