5 Dec 2011

The Children's Society comments on the government’s new Missing children and adults strategy, published today, 5 December.

The Children's Society's Policy Director Enver Solomon said:

'The government is to be commended for shining a light on an issue which, in most local areas, is given too little attention despite the massive scale of the problem. Hundreds of children go missing or run from home or care every day across the country. Yet way too often their behaviour is ignored or considered to be a nuisance, rather than a cry for help. 

Government sending a clear message

'The government is now sending a clear message to all professionals that this is unacceptable. It is clear that every time a child runs away they should be protected and their families given the help they need to make sure it doesn't happen again and again.

'The Children’s Society is campaigning for a national safety net for child runaways. This strategic framework is telling local authorities and the police very clearly that they need to provide this safety net. There are examples of where this is being done very well in some parts of the country. But The Children's Society knows from its own work that there needs to be a step change in culture and approaches.

We need this to be implemented locally

'When a child goes missing this must be seen as a priority child protection issue by everybody who works with children. To make this a reality the new strategy must be translated into meaningful action in every police force and every local authority.'

The latest research by The Children’s Society reveals that 100,000 children in the UK run from home or care every year. That is one child every five minutes. More than a quarter has been the victim of a harmful or dangerous experience.

For more information about The Children's Society's Make Runaways Safe campaign please visit the campaign website.

Media enquiries

For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email mea@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Society in November launched Still Running 3, the first comprehensive picture of running away for under 16s for six years. Still Running 3 is the third in a series of national surveys conducted by The Children’s Society into the issue of children running away. The three waves of the survey have been conducted at six-year intervals, in 1999, 2005 and 2011. More than 7,300 children aged 14 to 16 were interviewed in a representative sample of mainstream schools across England. Findings include - one in five child runaways have begged, stolen or done 'other things' to survive; one in nine (11%) was hurt or harmed on the last occasion they ran; one in six (18%) children said they had slept rough, or stayed with, someone they had just met.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.