When a child goes missing, parents and carers will worry that they have been involved in an accident, become involved in crime, a victim of abuse, crime or exploitation or ill through alcohol or drug misuse.

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’.

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.

Where to go for help…

Humberside Police – non Urgent 101
Humberside Police – Immediate danger 999

Youth and Family Support, East Riding – eastriding.gov.uk

Help for Children and Young People 0800 1111 nspcc.or.uk

CEOP – Think you Know – thinkuknow.co.uk

Young People’s Sexual Health in Hull and the East Riding – wearecornerhouse.org

MESMAC- The BLAST project just for boys – mesmac.co.uk

Local Campaign around Child Sexual Exploitation – notinourcommunity.org