Media Release: AFP helps to bring missing children home
Release Date: Wednesday, May 25 2011, 08:27 AM
Australia through the Australian Federal Police (AFP) is joining with agencies from across the world to recognise International Missing Children’s Day today.
In Australia, approximately two young people under the age of 18 are reported missing every hour, adding up to 17,500 every year.
International Missing Children’s Day helps to raise awareness about children who are missing, teach families about systems in place that can help, and celebrate the safe return of children who have been found.
The AFP is the lead agency for International Missing Children’s Day in Australia, and has been working with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) on missing children’s issues for more than 11 years. Last year’s campaign led to the successful return of three children whose cases were highlighted. This proves that individuals, professionals and organisations can all make a difference.
International Missing Children’s Day is a truly global event, with a consolidated campaign including Albania, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Greece, South Korea, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Romania, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. These countries, along with Australia through the AFP are part of the Global Missing Children’s Network.
AFP Commissioner Tony Negus released virtual balloons at this morning’s International Missing Children’s Day launch at Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium. The release of balloons has become synonymous with International Missing Children’s Day and has been used as a means of sharing the profiles and photos of missing children with the public.
“The rate at which children go missing in Australia is alarming, but fortunately the vast majority of these children are quickly found and reunited with their families,” AFP National Manager High Tech Crime Operations Neil Gaughan said.
“When a child goes missing – even temporarily – an average of at least 12 people are directly affected by this. The impact on family, friends and the community is devastating. There is no minimum time to report a missing child to local police, and the earlier children are reported missing, the sooner they can be found.
“I would like to urge everyone to take the simple step of viewing profiles of missing children and release a balloon online at www.helpbringthemhome.org.au.”
Balloons can also be released online at www.helpbringthemhome.org.au – an interactive portal developed by the AFP in support of the global campaign.
AFP National Media Team
Phone: (02) 6131 6333