116 000 Projects

Expansion and awareness of the hotline

The 116 000 missing children hotlines are now active in all EU member states as well as Albania, Serbia and Switzerland. In 22 of these countries, the 116 000 hotline is managed by member organisations of Missing Children Europe. 116 000 hotlines are vital to preventing, protecting and empowering children and families faced with child disappearances as they provide free emotional, psychological, social, legal and administrative support 24/7.

These hotlines have seen a 179% increase in calls received from 89.340 calls in 2012 to 250.012 calls in 2013.

Missing Children Europe's member hotlines responded to 630,476 calls in 2013 but only 13% of Europeans are aware of this service. Hence, every year we launch several types of awareness raising campaigns to highlight the existence and relevance of the 116 000 hotlines. Last year, to mark International missing Children's day on the 25th of May, we launched a thunderclap campaign asking the public to save the #116000missingchildren hotine number in their phones. The campaign received support from 234 supporters giving it a social reach of 1,630,581 people. 

Additionally, we coordinate several advertising campaigns using traditional media, public events and campaigns every year to make some noise about the 116 000 hotlines, including the "Where's Billy?" and the "Every second counts" poster campaign.

Stay tuned to this year's International Missing Children's day news (by signing up for our newsletter, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter) to be part of our campaign to raise awareness of this vital service.

Case management and data collection software

The European Commission study on missing children in the European Union: mapping, data collection and statistics (2013), found that there was a lack of comparable data regarding the phenomenon of missing children across the EU. 

The 116 000 hotline is now active in all EU member states as well as Albania, Serbia and Switzerland. However, at present, each of them stores and manages information about cases of child disappearance in their own way, with their own tools. This diversity leads to challenges in terms of harmonising the services provided through the hotlines as well as collecting uniform and comparable statistical data. With this problem in mind, Missing Children Europe began a project aiming to achieve a harmonised case management system that would allow for standardised recording of data and reporting across all 116 000 hotlines.

The project involves the development of a Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool that will allow all 116 000 hotlines to record data related to missing children consistently in the same way. There are 5 pilot countries involved in the project currently including Croatia, France, Italy, Poland and Portugal. The tool is currently in the process of being rolled out and was conceived with the input of a number of 116 000 hotlines that actively participated in the project to ensure that the CRM tool will eventually meet all the needs of the case managers and call operators.

The tool will ensure calls and cases are dealt with in an efficient and harmonised way, will lead to enhanced cross-border cooperation and enhanced data collection (reliable and comparable data). 

By ensuring data is effectively recorded across the EU we can ensure a greater understanding of the phenomenon of missing children in the EU and identify trends that will inevitably lead to the development of better policies, laws and systems to combat the issue of missing children.

Monitoring and evaluation of the quality of services

> Background

After having coordinated the launch of the 116 000 hotlines in the first 10 Member States in 2009, Missing Children Europe and its members focused on the need to harmonise the standards of the hotline service across Europe. Thanks to the funding of the European Commission (Daphne Programme), a project had been conducted from November 2009 to October 2011, the aim of which was to:

1. Harmonise the service delivery throughout the European Union, in order that parents and children may rely on the same quality and on the same help, no matter the country in which they call the hotline.

2. Enhance the cooperation among the NGOs running the 116 000 hotline, in order that cases with a cross-border nature may be dealt with in a more efficient and effective manner. 

The work undertaken during the project led to the creation of a “Practical guide for hotline operators”: a working tool for the 116 000 hotline’s staff, setting out the basic quality standards for the 116 000 service, as well as harmonised procedures for cooperation in transnational cases. The “Practical guide” has been translated into 14 national languages and has been gradually implemented by all hotlines.

Despite the good results achieved in the last years, Missing Children Europe realised that the quality of services, operational management and strategies of the hotlines do not all meet the standards expected by parents and children.  There is an important need to help hotlines improve their work, for a real difference to be made for children who go missing in Europe. 

This is the reason why Missing Children Europe will coordinate the development of an objective and self-sustainable evaluation system, to monitor the quality of the services provided by each hotline and to evaluate it against the criteria set out in the Practical Guide. The creation of this accreditation system and the evaluation of the services is founded by the European Commission under the Daphne Programme. Below are the main milestones of the project.

> Objectives

The overall objective of the project is to improve the quality of the 116 000 service across Europe and find effective ways to prevent and stop situations of violence linked to children who go missing.

> Outputs

These will be the main outputs of the project:

1. Evaluation mechanism based on identified standards and respective indicators → accreditation system;
2. First evaluation of all hotlines against the newly developed mechanism → formulation of specific recommendations per hotline as to improve the quality of the service offered (especially through study visits and exchange of good practices among hotlines).