> What to do if my child is missing?
Go to the last place you saw him/her or to a place where he/she might think to go. Contact the local police so that they can immediately start the investigation. Call or contact the 116 000 European hotline for missing children for any information, help or support.
> In my country we have emergency services such as the police, what is 116 000?
116 000 is the European hotline number for missing children. The hotline is currently operational in all EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The number is also available outside the EU in Albania, Serbia Switzerland and partially in Ukraine. It is NGOs not police that operate the number in each country. The staff is trained to offer support to parents of missing children, to receive meaningful information from the public on a missing child and to contact the appropriate authorities in each case. They work very closely with local police.
> Who is the hotline directed to?
116 000 is directed to parents, children and the general public. The people that answer the telephone calls are trained professionals who are there to support and assist the families, the victims and the authorities. 116 000 is especially useful to travelling parents and children as the people answering the call will help to direct them to the appropriate authorities within the country. 116 000 provides a safety net when parents and children travel within Europe for holidays, for work or for other reasons. 116 000 assures children and parents in Europe that help is only a telephone call away.
> How does it work?
When parents realise that their child is missing, often they panic. Panic is heightened if they are in a foreign country, are away from their family and friends and people that can help them and do not know from whom to seek assistance. By calling 116 000, they will be in immediate contact with the organisation offering support and assistance in cases of child disappearance in the country.
> Who answers the calls?
The person answering the call on a 116 000 hotline will be a staff member of the local organisation dealing with missing children. They will provide the necessary psychological, legal and administrative support, and assistance in contacting the appropriate authorities and in taking whatever steps are necessary to find the child.
> When I dial 116 000 where is the person who answers the call?
When you call 116 000 the person who answers is in the country in which you are calling. He/she is there to assist you and put you in contact with local authorities.
> If my child goes missing, shouldn’t I call the police?
116 000 and the NGOs that run the hotline are not there to replace the police. However, when people are in a foreign country they may not speak the local language, do not know the telephone numbers of local authorities and are often at a loss about what to do. The NGOs designated to operate 116 000 are trained to assist and will ensure that you are put into contact with the police and any other agencies that may be necessary.
> Can only parents call the 116 000 hotline?
No, children who have run away, who are lost or for some other reason are not with their parents will get immediate help if they call 116 000. They will know that it is safe to speak to the person that answers the call and that they will be provided with whatever assistance they need. In most countries, you may also call 116 000 if you have seen a child that is reported missing.
> What if I have information on a missing child but I don’t want to get involved?
Anyone in the public with information on a missing child is invited to call 116 000. Information will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for investigation but be assured that all calls are confidential.
> How can I help find a missing child?
- Donate to your national missing children organisation or to Missing Children Europe.
- Visit the website of the national missing children organisation in your country regularly so that you are aware of current disappearances. Pay attention to the pictures and details of missing children.
- If you have some information about a missing child, pass it on to 116 000 missing children hotline in your country
- Become a volunteer with your national organisation
- Download the notfound app on your website by visting www.notfound.org
- Learn about more ways you can get involved on the volunteer page