Liam Aylward MEP has welcomed the implementation of the Missing Children’s Hotline in Ireland on a 24 hour basis, 365 days a year.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Ireland East MEP commented, “After years of concerted effort at EU level, this important service has finally been implemented and has become fully functional. It offers children and families a vital service and source of support in times of need.”
Implemented on the basis of the EU Universal Service Directive, the 116 000 Missing Child Hotline is reserved across the EU to report missing children and provide guidance and support to their families.
The service also allows Member States to collect valuable data on missing children in Europe which will allow for better targeted policies in the future.
Liam Aylward continued, “I welcome the initiative undertaken to collect reliable data on how many children disappear in Europe each year and what the underlying causes are. In 2011, a quarter of a million cases of missing children were officially reported in the EU. It is clear that for the service to be fully effective the reasons for these worryingly high figures must be investigated and clarification given on what supports are provided to families when the children return.”
The Ireland East MEP stressed that increased public awareness of the hotline is also central to its effectiveness and called for a strong public awareness campaign.
“Data supplied by the 116 000 hotlines in place already shows that the hotlines sometimes handle a very small proportion of cases in their country. This shows that there is still a lot of work to be done to promote the hotlines to the general public.”