In the news - Number of children reported missing rises

New figures show that the number of children reported missing in England has risen dramatically over the past four years.

At the end of 2012, Railway Children collated statistics from Freedom of Information requests* to Police Forces in England and Wales which revealed that the number of children reported missing from home or care has increased both in major conurbations, including London, Greater Manchester and Birmingham, as well as regionally.

Over the past four years, from 2008 to 2011, the number of missing children reports have more than doubled in Greater Manchester, Essex and Northamptonshire, and have quadrupled - an increase of up to 400% - in the West Midlands, Gloucestershire and Staffordshire, with numbers expected to increase again by the end of 2012.

Railway Children believes the true statistics are even greater and urges us all to help tackle the issue at its cause, by talking to your children.

Andy McCullough, Head of Strategy & Policy at Railway Children said: "It is alarming to see that the numbers of children reported missing across the country has risen so significantly year on year. Of those who are reported missing, the majority are young people who have run away from home or care. Children run away for many reasons, usually to escape things they find stressful such as problems at school or home.

"However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Anecdotal research indicates that as many as two thirds of young people who run away from home are not even reported missing[1]and may be too vulnerable and afraid to seek help from official services. In fact, we estimate that every five minutes in the UK a child under 16 runs away from home - that’s 100,000 children every year - a far greater number."

"There is a clear need for UK society to collectively take responsibility to tackle this issue at its cause. I would urge all parents to talk to each other and their children about running away from home, to raise awareness of this alarming issue and its realities."

You may have seen this story covered by your local newspaper

*(The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to ask any public sector organisation for all the recorded information they have on any subject. Railway Children made requests to Police Forces for data under the FOI Act between August-November 2012)

Last updated: about 3 years ago