On this page we'll look at the following, simply click on the links below to be taken straight to the section.


Thirteen - What is missing
Thirteen - parents / carers support
Thirteen - Missing, setting the rules
Thirteen - Missing, what to expect


What is Missing?

The police define missing as ‘anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the circumstance are out of character or context suggests the person may be subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another'.

Before contacting the police: check in places such as bedrooms, gardens, garages and bathrooms as the child might still be within the household. Then check with family, friends and school to see if they know the young persons whereabouts. Contact the person directly via text, call, and social media.

There is an expectation that parents take responsibility in trying to establish the whereabouts of their child. Children who are breaching parental discipline should not be dealt with by police unless there are other risks. For example, a child who is late home from a party should not be regarded as missing until the parent or carer has undertaken enquiries to locate the child.



Parents / Carers Support

We know that it can be difficult for families with missing loved ones to find someone to talk to who understands their unique experience. Sometimes it can feel like other people seem to stop caring or don't know what to say. Missing People's helpline is free, and available 24/7. If a friend or relative has gone missing and you need support and advice call or text 116 000 or email: Make sure the first person you call is your local police.

If you’re worried that your child might be thinking about running away, try taking the following recommended steps:

  • Talk to your children openly and honestly
  • Listen to them when they talk about their concerns, feelings and difficulties
  • Respect their emotional responses in every situation
  • Encourage them to succeed and work through their differences and struggles
  • Support your child’s need to gain independence and develop appropriate relationships with others
  • Create opportunities for them to learn how to make positive decisions in their lives
  • Teach your children to be accountable for their actions
  • Protect them from feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Provide a place of safety for your children, both emotionally and physically
  • Defend them openly against harassment or verbal abuse of any kind
  • Make your home a place of trust and support that meets their needs



Setting the Rules

Rule 1. Be consistent - It is essential that you always enforce the rules. Choosing to ignore a broken rule will cause issues with your child and lead them to believe they can pick and choose which rules to follow.

Rule 2. Set Rules on communication - If your child has permission to be at a friend’s house, they must call for permission to go to another hang- out spot. Also, it could be beneficial to require them to always pick up calls or return text messages from you on their mobile phone.

Rule 3. Get them involved - If possible, make your child feel part of the decision making process by negotiating different rules and consequences with them.

Rule 4. Make yourself available - Teens should never be afraid to call you for a lift or ask for advice at any time if they are in an unpleasant situation.

Rule 5. Discuss concerns and risk - Discuss your concerns and any potential risks(why are you worried? What could go wrong?). Agree risk- reduction strategies ( eg. Specific actions that will keep them safe)

Rule 6. Consequences - Make sure that consequences are put in place and are followed up if rules are broken and don’t back down at any point. When your child does inevitably break a rule, it is crucial that you don’t take away the consequences of their mistakes. In order for your child to respect your clearly stated rules and consequences, you must hold them accountable when they choose to still break a rule.

If you don’t know where your child is report them missing to police.



What to Expect

So what happens when a young person goes missing in the East Riding?

An adult, who could be your Mum, Dad, Aunt, Gran, carer or social worker may have no idea where you are and be unable to contact you. They should then contact 999 or 101.

The adult making the call will speak to a police call handler, tell them your last whereabouts and share all your basic details including information on what happened before you went missing.

A Police Officer will take the details and do a risk assessment as to whether they think you’re in immediate risk. They will take into consideration your age, emotional wellbeing at the time of going missing, if you have any medical condition and any other factors that have been disclosed. This will help the police think about how they are going to search for you. This could could be door to door knocking, going to your friends house, police helicopter or even putting a picture of you on social media.

When you have returned home the police come to see you to complete a welfare check. They will ask you some questions about what happened when you went missing and make sure you feel safe.

Once the police have seen that you're safe and well they inform the local authority. A practitioner from the Prevention Team will then contact you or your family to come and visit you.

By law the local authority have to complete an independent return home interview.

In the East Riding the Prevention Team, who are based within Children’s Services, complete these visits.

A worker from the Prevention Team will then be in touch to organise a visit within 72 hours of the found report from the police.

A worker from the Prevention Team will then either see you at home or will attend your school/college to do the return home interview.

The worker will ask questions about when you went missing for example:

  • Why did you run away?
  • Did you feel unsafe at any time?
  • Where did they go?
  • Names and addresses of people you where with?
  • Did you engage in drugs, alcohol or sexual activities?

Then the worker will ask if you need or want any help or support with anything to try and prevent any other missing episodes from happening in the future.




Samaritans: 116 123

Childline: 08001111

Papyrus Hopeline: 0800 068 41 41

CALM: 0800 58 58 58

Youngminds Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544