Missing Children Publication Hub

The publications in this section contain the results of our research as well as curated research on topics and issues relevant to missing children in Europe and the world. Example of the type of research you can find are understanding the causes of the different types of missing children cases in Europe, policy on missing children, search and rescue operations and family support. The menu and submenu options below will help you find what you're looking for.

If you'd like to share relevant research with us, please send the title, a link and description of the research to info@missingchildreneurope.eu.

Services & Operations
74 item(s).
  • Position paper: Child tracking devices
    Missing Children Europe
    A tracking device is an electronic security mechanism which allows monitoring the location of a person or an object. Over the past years, many tracking devices have been developed enabling adults to monitor and locate their children. This paper outlines Missing Children Europe's research and opinion on the issue of using child tracking devices.
  • The effectiveness of supermarket posters in helping to find missing children
    Lampinen, J. M., Arnal, J., & Hicks, J. L.
    The research addresses the question of how effective Supermarket Posters are in Helping to Find Missing Children
  • Recognizing Risk: The Attitudes of Police Supervisors to the Risk Assessment Process in Missing Person Investigations
    Richard Smith & Karen Shalev Greene
    Missing person investigations are widely regarded as a demanding challenge for the police service. This article examines the attitudes and experiences of police supervisors to the risk assessment process in such investigations.
  • Police Search Advisers (PolSAs) and the search for missing people
    Lucy Holmes and Penny Woolnough
    This research explores: the nature and extent to which PolSAs are involved in missing person cases; the nature of the relationship between PolSAs and SIOs; multiagency working (including other search agencies); the potential personal pressures PolSAs face and strategies to mitigate against these; procedural / process / organisational related aspects of the PolSA role including opportunities for improvement; PolSA training; and encounters and familiarity with families of missing persons.
  • The search for missing persons- The Belgian approach
    Alain Remue
  • Extent and profile of long term disappearances
    law enforcement, missing persons, long term disappearances
  • Adult missing persons: Statistical identification of behavioural themes
    Penny Woolnough, Emily Bonny, Louise Almond
    The aim of this research is to expand on the understanding of missing people by outlining the behaviours exhibited by adults while they are missing and determining if distinct behavioural themes exist.
  • Safe and Well? Police Attitudes to Return Interviews, in Repeat Missing Person Cases
    Michael Harris
    The aim of this study is to examine the attitudes of police officers to return interviews of people who are reported missing repeatedly (e.g. 3 times or more).
  • ‘Assessing the effectiveness of the national policing approach to missing person investigations in Scotland’
    Dr. Brian Plastow
    The research represents one of the largest national studies into the effectiveness of policing responses to missing persons and reveals a complex national picture which includes 600 long-term missing people and over 300 unidentified bodies and numerous unidentified body parts dating back to 1950.
  • Suicide at home versus away: an exploration of the relationship between geo-spatial characteristics and suicide method
    Penny Woolnough, Emily Smith, Graham Gibb
    165 cases of suicide occurring with the Grampian region of Scotland over a three year period of time (2002-2004) were analysed to look at the relationship between suicide location, method and distance travelled.
  • The cultural nature of missing
    Joe Apps
    The notions of trying to define 'missing' and 'missingness' are fascinating. Many people, who are reported to authorities as being missing by family and friends, do not consider themselves as missing persons; when found, they are surprised that they have been considered as 'missing'. Adults have rights to do as they please and also the right to be forgotten.
  • Investigating missing children cases: a guide for first responders and investigators
    Sprague, D. F.
    Provides a solid training guide on missing children investigative techniques, enabling law enforcement professionals to respond confidently with a plan of action that offers the best possible chance for a positive outcome.
  • Missing and abducted children: A law enforcement guide to case investigation and program management
    Eds: Preston Findlay, Robert G Lowery
    Guide to assist law enforcement in the search for missing children. Its two goals are to provide (1) Police Officers with a step by step info. On how to respond to and investigate missing child cases, and (2) Administrators with the programmatic framework to manage the missing-child response within their agency's jurisdiction
  • Local Authority Support to Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Young People Changes since the Hillingdon Judgement (2003)
    Elli Free
    Provides a more detailed and analytical look at local authorities' responses to the Hillingdon judgement and LAC 13. In-depth interviews with staff at 18 local authorities in England. The majority of local authorities interviewed are now providing Section 20 support to 16- and 17-year-old unaccompanied children.
  • “Child Alert”: public information dissemination of child disappearances
    Veerle Pashley, Els Enhus, Mark Leys
    This report describes the communication trajectory of the Belgian NGO “Child Focus”.
  • “Child Alert”: public information dissemination of child disappearances
    Veerle Pashley, Els Enhus, Mark Leys
    Research within the framework of developing a “Child Alert system”, a project coordinated by Child Focus.
  • Child Abduction, AMBER Alert, and Crime Control Theater
    Timothy Griffin & Monica K. Miller
    Intense interest in disturbing child abductions by the mass media, public safety organizations, and the public has helped sustain a socially constructed mythology and sporadic “moral panic” about the presumed pervasiveness of this threat to children. The result has often been reactionary “memorial” legislation enacted in response to sensational cases.
  • Social Psychological Influences on the Popularity of Amber Alerts
    Lorie L. Sicafuse & Monica K. Miller
    The AMBER Alert system enjoys widespread public support. Yet evidence suggests that the system may be ineffective and have unintended consequences.
  • "National child alert systems: A (preliminary) overview "
    Delphine Moralis
    While the goal of the system is comparable in all Member States involved, the characteristics, decision making procedures and stakeholders involved differ from one country to the next. The presentation will shed light on some of the key features of systems in place in 10 EU Member States today.
  • The challenges of international cross-border investigations
    Charlie Hedges
    The presentation will highlight the difficulties encountered in international investigations in Europe without borders and beyond the European Union.
  • Child Alerts for missing children: need for a balanced and integrated approach
    Missing Children Europe
    Endangered missing children for which a child alert system can be of use constitute an average 1 to 2% of the total cases of missing children. While child alert systems can be of use in those 1 to 2%, the overall problem of missing children - of which an average 60% concern children running away from situations of conflict, abuse, violence and neglect - requires a much more comprehensive approach, including measures aimed at prevention and empowerment.
  • The Amber Alert: Appropriate solution to preventing child abduction?
    Zgoba, K.
    Outlines the history and activation process of the Amber Alert, as well as the challenges and advantages experienced by the agencies involved.
  • Best practice for launching a cross-border child abduction alert
    Describes and documents, based on experiences in several Member States, the key elements of a "child abduction alert" mechanism.
  • Amber Alert: bringing abducted children home
    Everything you want to know about the AMBER ALERT.
  • The Psychology of AMBER Alert: Unresolved Issues and Implications
    Monica K. Miller, Timoth Griffin, Samantha S. Clinkinbeard, Rebecca M. Thomas
    The issues related to the AMBER ALERT, unresolved issues that arise.
  • Once missing - Never forgotten?
    Mette Drivsholm, Delphine Moralis, Dr. Karen Shalev-Greene, Dr. Penny Woolnough
    To date, few attempts have been made to evaluate the effectiveness of publicity campaigns, all of which were carried out in the USA. While scarce, the research tends to reveal disappointing results and suggest that publicity appeals don’t necessarily positively impact the investigation or search. The dissemination of images of missing children furthermore raises potential issues regarding the impact that it may have on the protection of the child’s privacy and overall wellbeing. Others however argue that appeals can help to gather vital information from the public and safeguard children at risk, with Child Alert systems in particular having been credited for safeguarding missing children (OJJPD, 2016). These views call for further research to ensure the effectiveness of publicity appeals in their potential of saving lives, while limiting the negative impact for missing children and their families.
  • Media bias in cases of children who go missing
    Dr. Karen Shalev Greene & Jemma Reddin
    The aim of this presentation is to examine why some missing children within the UK receive extensive media coverage and are well-known to the wider society, whilst other missing children receive much less coverage and seem to be forgotten about in terms of the public eye.
  • Figures and Trends 2015
    Missing Children Europe
    Every year Missing Children Europe collects data and statistics on missing children reported to hotlines for missing children active in all EU Member States and to the Cross Border Family mediator network.
  • The 116 000 hotline for missing children
    Mette Drivsholm
    The presentation will briefly recap the background of the 116 000 European hotline for missing children before describing the development of the hotline both geographically and through the implementation of several European Commission funded projects.
  • Repeat Reports of Missing Children in Ireland: a comparative perspective
    Dr Michael Rush
    The paper raises questions about the how the missing children 116 000 service can contribute to the effectiveness of responses to missing and to knowledge about the social experience of going missing.
  • Missing children figures and trends 2014
    Missing Children Europe
    An annual data collection exercise to collect data on the numbers, categories and trends of missing children in Europe based on calls and cases dealt with by 116 000 missing children hotlines across Europe. While effective and standardised data collection mechanisms are lacking in Europe, this annual review provides for one of the only reliable and updated sources of information on missing children for the past year.
  • Breaking the cycle: Collaborating and behaving differently to improve the outcomes and experiences of missing children
    Kerry Wade
    The purpose of this paper is to explore how, by encouraging all key stakeholders to “play nicely and act maturely” to share responsibility, the author was able to improve outcomes for children reported missing to Gwent Police.
  • NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics for 2011
    The National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) Missing Person File was implemented in 1975. Records in the Missing Person File are retained indefinitely, until the individual is located, or the record is canceled by the entering agency.
  • Dentistry to the rescue of missing children: A review
    Nitika Vij, Gulsheen Kaur Kochhar, Sanjay Chachra, Taranjot Kaur
    Toothprints enables a unique identification of the missing children not only through the bite impression but also through salivary DNA. Besides the use of Toothprints, a dentist can assist investigating agencies in identifying the missing children in multiple ways, including postmortem dental profiling, labeled dental fixtures, DNA extraction from teeth, and serial number engraving on the children's teeth.
  • Volunteers in British mountain rescue: responding to increasing demand for rescues and a changed relationship with the state
    Geoffrey Nichols, Rohan Goel, Tom Nichols, Will Jones
    A survey of MR team members and potential recruits reveals a mismatch between potential members' expectation of being engaged in MR and the reality of the increased work supporting non-mountain incidents. This illustrates a potential strain in the motivations of volunteers being used to deliver public services.
  • Facial identification of children
    Elidh Fergusan
    In situations where comparative material is present, for example, child pornographic material, or the captured sighting of a missing individual, the potential to use facial comparison techniques to aid identification is an appealing one.
  • Multivariate analysis of killing and disposal behaviour during war crimes in Cambodia and Rwanda
    Killing and disposing of victims during conflict results in millions of missing persons worldwide, yet there are few empirical models of these actions for organisations to draw on to aid in the search for their locations.
  • Searching
    Colin Hope
    In all cases, a search is intended to locate the missing person, to identify any information that may lead to their discovery and to establish whether a crime has been committed against the missing person. Therefore strategies and tactics used when searching for a missing person must be proportionate and appropriate to the circumstances of the ‘missing’ episode.
  • Research-informed search strategies- behaviour patterns of vulnerable missing people in lowland areas
    Paul Lewis and Dr Pauline Franklin
    Using data extracted from 677 searches, over a 15 year period KSAR has analysed information on categories of missing persons, search environment, distance from last known point, location found and situation when found.
  • UK Lowland Rescue Response- A Case Study
    Rachel Good
    The case study illuminates core features of the literature, local and national policy, and examines the relationship between these and the operational actions of the volunteers working on the front line of the team.
  • i-find
    Naomi Eales
    iFIND will be crucial for all those involved in the search for missing persons to provide an effective and timely response.
  • "Can deceased missing persons be identified by antemortem photographs of the face? "
    "Zuzana Caplova , Davide Porta , Daniele Gibelli , Debora Mazzarelli , Danilo De Angelis , Tony Fracasso , Chiarella Sforza , Zuzana Obertova , Cristina Cattaneo "
    The study showed that comparison of unfamiliar faces of dead and living persons may be used as a preliminary recognition method only in the absence of any other identifying marker and with great caution.
  • Missing on a night out: risk, outcomes and implications (preliminary)
    Geoff Newiss
    This paper explores the risks and outcomes for men who go missing on a night out.
  • Carers role in the search for missing people living with dementia
    Dr. Karen Shalev-Greene, Prof. Charlotte Clarke, Prof. Francis Pakes, Lucy Holmes
    The aim of this presentation is to explore patterns of reporting missing episodes to the police by those who care for people living with dementia and to critically assess the decisions, search patterns and strategies by carers of people who live with dementia when someone with dementia goes missing.
  • "Missing Abroad: The on-going experience between ITAKA Foundation & NGO Omnibus "
    Konstantinos Tagkoulis
    So what could an average family from Poland do in case a member of their family goes missing in a Greek region? Can they afford to travel to Greece and search for their loved ones? How fast can the Police Agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of each country be informed and get involved? Is the cooperation between the authorities effective? What are the benefits of having an international cooperation between two specialised NGOs regarding a missing person’s case?
  • Ambiguous loss: a complicated type of grief when loved ones disappear
    Pauline Boss, Janet R Yeats
    Ambiguous loss is an unclear loss that continues without resolution or closure. The authors present six guidelines about meaning, mastery, identity, ambivalence, attachment, and hope.
  • Missing siblings: seeking more adequate social responses
    Julie Clark, Jeni Warburton, Cheryl Tilse
    This paper links knowledge of siblings, loss and grief to an understanding of this phenomenon. It presents the methodology and findings of an exploratory, qualitive study into the expériences of nine adult siblings of long-term missing people in Australia and presents the themes drawn from their account.
  • 'You are going to drop the ball on this ...': using siblings' stories to inform better interprofessional practice when someone goes missing
    Julie Clark
    The need for support from human services workers to complement the role of police is recognised as is the important role of non-government support and advocacy services.
  • Unresolved Loss: Issues in Working with Adults Whose Siblings were Kidnapped Years Ago
    Geoffrey Greif, Duane T. Bowers
    This article describes the common issues raised by five adults (18-60 years old) whose siblings were kidnapped during their childhood or in early adulthood.
  • Ambiguous Loss and Its Effects on Children: Implications and Interventions for School Counselors
    K Guidry, C. Simpson, T Test, C Bloomfield
    The purpose of this article is to define and describe the concept of grief and how it may explain challenging behaviors with students. Additionally, this definition will be expanded by introducing the definition of ambiguous grief.
  • When hope and grief intersect: Rates and risks of prolonged grief disorder among bereaved individuals and relatives of disappeared persons in Colombia
    Carina Heeke, Nadine Stammel, Christine Knaevelsrud
    This study investigates prolonged grief disorder and its risk factors in a sample of persons who lost a significant other to disappearance as compared with a sample of bereaved individuals, both groups having experienced displacement due to the armed conflict in Colombia.
  • Living in Limbo: The experiences of, and impacts on, the families of missing people
    Lucy Holmes
    This small scale, exploratory study aimed to provide a rich and deep account of the ways in which a disappearance can affect a missing person’s family members.
  • When the Search is Over: Reconnecting missing children and adults
    Lucy Holmes
    This project explored the ways in which missing people reconnect to family, carers or a place of safety, and makes recommendations for improvements in the way reconnections are facilitated and supported.
  • Life’s on Hold: Missing people, private calendars and waiting
    Susan Hogben
    This article presents the impact of someone being missing, by considering the role of time in three interrelated fashions.
  • “It’s the hope that hurts” Best practice in counselling models relevant to families and friends of missing persons
    Hunter Institute of Mental Health
    In early June of 2001 the families and friends of Missing persons unit operating within the NSW attorney General’s department out of the victims of Crime Bureau contracted the hunter institute of Mental health to investigate and report on best practice model/s relevant to families and friends of missing persons.
  • The Kosovo Family Support Project: Offering Psychosocial Support for Families with Missing Persons
    Mary Ellen Keough, Margaret F. Samuels
    This article presents a case that illustrates the vital role that social workers and other mental health and public health workers provided to support families following the 1999 conflict between Serb forces and Kosovar Albanians in Kosovo.
  • The Missing Link in Resilience Research
    Shaul Kimhi, Yohanan Eshel
    This article is a most comprehensive and important review of resilience research which presents an intellectual challenge to every scholar in this field.
  • Traumatic Loss in Children and Adolescents
    Anthony P. Mannarino , Judith A. Cohen
    This article discusses the distinctive features of CTG, how it is different from normal bereavement, how this condition is assessed, and promising treatments for children who experience a traumatic loss.
  • An Uncertain Hope: Missing People’s overview of the theory, research and learning about how it feels for families when a loved one goes missing
    Missing People
    This guidance provides an overview of the currently available research, policy, knowledge and understanding about what it is really like to cope when someone you love is missing.
  • Family Feedback Survey Report
    Missing People's annual Impact Report shows how we are meeting the needs of missing children, missing adults and their families across the UK.
  • Lessons from Australia: Developing a new counselling service for families when someone is missing
    Helen Morell
    This report describes Helen's trip and the lessons she learned.
  • Families living with absence: Searching for missing people
    Hester Parr and Olivia Stevenson
    The report raises many relevant issues for working with families of missing people, but also highlights the need for families to have time and space to remember.
  • Ambiguous Loss in a Non-Western Context: Families of the Disappeared in Postconflict Nepal
    Simon Robins
    Ambiguous loss is explored in a different cultural context through a study of the families of persons disappeared during Nepal's decade-long Maoist insurgency.
  • What about me? Coping with the abduction of a brother or sister
    US Department of Justice
    This publication is the effort of those who have lived the nightmare of losing a sister or brother. Eight siblings joined with the Office of Justice Programs to write this guide.
  • Supporting those who are left behind A counselling framework to support families of missing persons
    Sarah wayland
    Each year in Australia, 35,000 people are reported missing to police. For every missing person’s case reported, at least 12 people are affected whether it is emotionally, psychologically, physically or financially. That means that a significantly large number of people will endure the trauma associated with the unresolved loss of a loved one.
  • Holding on to hope: A review of the literature exploring missing persons, hope and ambiguous loss
    Sarah Waylanda, Myfanwy Maplea, Kathy McKaya & Geoffrey Glassocka
    This review explores hope for families of missing people.
  • The Trauma and Complicated Grief of Ambiguous Loss
    Pauline Boss
    Ambiguous loss is a newly identified type of loss that occurs when a loved one is physically present, but psychologically absent. Dementia is just one example.
  • Healing loss, ambiguity, and trauma: a community-based intervention with families of union workers missing after the 9/11 attack in New York City
    Pauline Boss, Lorraine Beaulieu, Elizabeth Wieling, William Turner and Shulaika LaCruz
    A team of therapists from Minnesota and New York workied with labor union families of workers gone missing on September 11, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center.
  • Loss, Trauma and Resilience : Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss
    Pauline Boss
    Pauline Boss, the principal theorist of the concept of ambiguous loss, guides clinicians in the task of building resilience in clients who face the trauma of loss without resolution. Boss describes a concrete therapeutic approach that is at once directive and open to the complex contexts in which people find meaning and discover hope in the face of ambiguous losses
  • Missing News
    Read about the Guardianship consultation and other latest developments relating to missing
  • The impact of missing a loved one: A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative research
    "Lonneke Lenferink, Prof. Dr. Jos de Keijser, Prof. Dr. Paul Boelen, Dr. Ineke Wessel, Doety de Vries "
    Is it possible to create a theoretical framework for those who are missing a loved one on the basis of the loss-related frameworks? And what are the clinical consequences for this framework?
  • A cognitive behavioral intervention for emotional distress among loved ones of missing persons
    Prof. Dr. Jos de Keijser, Lonneke Lenferink, Prof. Dr. Paul Boelen
    In the current study, we examined to what extent these interventions can be useful in the treatment of persistent distress among loved ones of missing persons.
  • Informing, including and supporting young people when a loved one is missing
    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?
  • ‘We look at it through a different lens’ How a shared hope between the left behind and those who investigate can enhance the wellbeing of families of missing people.
    "Sarah Wayland, Dr Kathy McKay, Dr Geoffrey Glassock "
    Families interviewed for the purposes of an Australian based narrative inquiry study exploring hope and ambiguous loss referred to the police as both “hope enablers” and “hope detractors” in their response to loss.