Supporting The Most Vulnerable: Young People Who Go Missing

lonely boy

Users of social media sites will be aware of the postings by Police Scotland of missing persons. 64% of those who go missing are children and over half of those are ‘looked after’. Sometimes a young person will go missing on more than one occasion.

Missing People and Barnardos are to work together producing education materials about the dangers of going missing and where support can be found. The project has been awarded £30,000 from the Scottish Government and will be ready in the Autumn.

Susannah Drury, Director of Policy for Missing People said:

“Only 1 in 20 young people in Scotland who run away reach out for professional help. Most young people simply don’t know that support is available to help them stay safe including Missing People’s 24/7 free and confidential Runaway Helpline.

“So, we are delighted to be working with Barnardo’s Scotland and young people themselves to develop this resource that will inform young people about how they can stay safe and get the support they need if they are thinking about running away or have been reported missing.”

The investigations by Police Scotland are 99% successful –  there will be some missing persons who are never reported to the authorities. The early evening and night are when most of the incidents occur but the majority of  people will be found within 24 hours.

missing persons - where they go missing from

Of all ages who go missing often it is from their own home but 28% are from a Young Person’s Unit.

The issue will be highlighted at the first ever Scottish Missing Persons Week which will take place in May.

The statistics for Scotland show a variation in the areas where people are reported missing to Police Scotland.

missing persons

These stats are for all missing persons, not just children and young people.

You can find more information here: Police Scotland missing-persons-annual-report-2017-18

The Charity Missing People provides a 24 hour helpline for anyone thinking about leaving home and going missing. 116 000 this is free and confidential.

They will also help those whose loved one has gone missing.

Scotland has a National Missing Persons Framework and many agencies work together to trace and support those who do go missing.  The Framework hopes:

  • To introduce preventative measures to reduce the number of episodes of people going missing.
  • To respond consistently and appropriately to missing persons episodes.
  • To provide the best possible support to missing people and their families.
  • To protect vulnerable people to reduce the risk of harm.

The Framework is used by all agencies involved in the work relating to missing persons. It gives a National set of guidelines bringing together the best practice taking place in communities across Scotland.

A very small number of people go missing and remain so out of choice but the funding will hopefully reduce the worrying number of children and young people who leave home or their place of care.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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