Community Safety Minister Ash Denham MSP has announced that Missing People and Barnardo’s have been jointly awarded £30,000 to develop a new resource in consultation with children and young people and Education Scotland.
The two leading charities are joining forces to develop materials to educate children and young people about the dangers of going missing and encourage them to access support.
The project supports the goals of Scotland’s National Missing Persons Framework, which aims to improve the way agencies and organisations work together to support vulnerable people and help prevent individuals from running away.
Ms Denham said:
“Almost 23,000 missing person investigations were conducted by Police Scotland in 2017-18, nearly two-thirds involving children and young people. Whether young people are struggling with their mental health or experiencing difficulties at home, it is important that they understand the dangers of running away and can access professional help and support so they know going missing is not their only option.
“The vast majority of missing people are returned safe within 48 hours but we are determined to continue to improve how we safeguard and support the most vulnerable. That is more important than ever at this time of year when stresses and strains can occur in relationships.”
Susannah Drury, Director of Policy for Missing People added:
“Only 1 in 20 young people in Scotland who run away reach out for professional help. Most 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 to 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.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“In 2017/18, there were 1,258 missing persons investigations in Ayrshire; 6.4% of missing persons investigations across Scotland related to a missing child or young person.
“Overall, 28% of investigations start from a young persons’ unit, which tells us many of these children are in care and implies they are particularly vulnerable.
“Prevention is key and for younger people at risk of going missing, it could involve providing early third party mediation for them and their family to help defuse and find workable solutions to difficult circumstances before these reach a crisis point.”