FIGURES AND TRENDS 2019: FROM HOTLINES FOR MISSING CHILDREN AND CROSS-BORDER FAMILY MEDIATORS

General information about the resource:

What is it about?

Every year thousands of children go missing in
Europe because of abuse, violence, neglect,
conflict, and poverty. Due to lack of comparable
data on missing children it is difficult to know the
complete scope of the issue. That is why, since
2014, Missing Children Europe has collected
and analysed data from the 116 000 hotlines
for missing children to study the trend of missing
children cases and analyse the causes and
effects of child disappearance.
In 2019, 55284 calls related to missing children
were answered by the hotlines across Europe
who responded to this survey. In practice, they
worked on a total of 7 582 cases including
new cases and open cases from previous
years. Fewer hotlines responded to the survey
than in previous years, as the measures to limit
the spread of COVID-19 taken during the time
of data collection limited the access to their
databases. This, in part, explains the declining
trend in number of calls answered. More and
more children and families contact our members
through other means, such as chats and apps.
The network of missing children hotlines available
through the 116 000 number is currently active in

31 countries in Europe. Hotlines in 23 countries
(20 NGOs and 3 governmental agencies)
contributed data to this report and 34 crossborder family mediators reported about
their activity in solving international parental
abduction cases. Missing Children Europe
collected data from: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria,
Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece,
Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Malta, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia,
Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United
Kingdom, and Ukraine.
While hotlines are generally able to give us
information about the calls answered, more
specific data relating to categories, causes,
outcomes etc. are not always collected. This report
therefore only presents an overview of what we
know and does not show the full extent of the
issue of missing children in Europe. Nevertheless,
the information we do have is important as it is
the only annual Europe wide collection of data
on missing children, and it gives some insight into
the underlying causes of children going missing,
which is crucial to build preventive programmes.
All the graphs below relate to data from 2019,
unless otherwise specified.

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