Missing Children Publication Hub
Organization: Families and Friends of Missing Persons
Published In: 2015
Informing, including and supporting young people when a loved one is missing
(by Liz Davies)
Young people are often the forgotten ‘victims’ in the presence of trauma. When a loved one is missing, young people may be the silent onlookers who are quickly whisked out of sight. Their questions may remain unanswered, in an attempt to avoid distress, to protect their ‘innocence’, or out of impotence to find the right words or explanation; but at what cost to the ongoing emotional well-being of the young person?
Service providers have a responsibility to enquire about young people, and a responsibility to recognise that they too are impacted when a loved one is missing. The old adage “children should be seen and not heard” often becomes “children are neither seen nor heard”. While they are silent, the family, the community and service providers often fail to recognise their need for inclusion and support. When asked, young people are very clear about their wish to be informed, included and supported.
How we recognise the signs of trauma in children, and respond to their support needs is the focus of a qualitative research study. The presentation explores the initial findings regarding the psychosocial impact of missing and support needs of young people, providing new information to promote an understanding of their experience, and the way their support needs are acknowledged and responded to by parents, carers and service providers.
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