The 116 000 Missing Children’s Hotline which had been established on a pilot basis by the ISPCC in December is now operational on a 24-hour basis.
With the backing of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the European Commission the main objective of the hotline is to provide support to missing children and their families 365 days a year.
As well as the hotline the service includes an automated text support services that sends automated supportive texts to a young person who is missing or may have run away as well as a freephone number that cannot be traced. The latter service will only be provided on receipt of written parental consent.
Advice and guidance will also be available on the Missing Children’s Hotline website www.missingchildrenshotline.ie
“A child going missing is a parent’s worst nightmare and the ISPCC is delighted that after several years of advocating for this vital service, we are finally able to provide support to children and families on a 24 hour basis,” said Ashley Balbirnie, CEO of the ISPCC.
“The ISPCC has extensive experience providing listening services to children as we are now in our 25th year of Childline so we feel that running this hotline is something that we are well placed to do.”
Superintendent Nyland from An Garda Síochána pointed out that the number is not an emergency number. He said that in an emergency every second counts and the first port of call should be An Garda Síochána 112/999.
“We will continue to work together for the safety of children who go missing, and to minimise the distress caused to the families left behind. The 116000 Missing Children Hotline number is a support service for missing children and their families/loved ones,” Superintendent Nyland said.
Hotline image via Shutterstock