Missing Children Europe to boost its impact on children with new 4-year strategy

Brussels, 26 November 2021   


This week Missing Children Europe’s General Assembly adopted a new strategy – Consolidating Our Impact on Children – setting out the principles and priorities that will guide our work over the next four years.

Missing Children Europe’s strategy 2022- 2025 


As the only pan-European membership network focused on missing children, we will build on our existing strengths and target our activities where they will have the greatest impact on children.

The data we collect from the network of 116000 missing child hotlines we coordinate is the only annual source of European data on missing children. Together with expertise from our members, and insights from children with experience of going missing, it forms the basis of our work.

We are appreciated for our ability to connect, train, and support frontline organisations to close the gaps in child protection systems across Europe. We are proud of our effectiveness advocating for policy change at EU and international level in partnership with others. Child participation is part of every project we execute and, going forward, we want to embed it in our governance structures.

Our research shows that only 0,5% of missing children cases are criminal abductions. The majority of disappearances reported are children running away, often from a situation of conflict or abuse, abductions by a parent or guardian, and children going missing in migration. Prevention by improving child protection systems is therefore key.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a 17% increase in cases reported to the hotlines in 2020, as it exposed young people to abuse, exploitation and violence, at home and in digital spaces.

Our new strategy outlines how we can have a stronger impact on children in view of these challenges. We will focus on:

  1. Strengthening the 116 000 hotlines by increasing accessibility for users and by improving the quality, capacity, and visibility of the hotlines.
  2. Runaway children: advancing awareness and dialogue and improving all-round responses for runaways.
  3. Parental abductions: further promoting and strengthening mediation as a tool to prevent, protect and respond to the issue of parental abductions; and support the voice of the child in international abduction proceedings.
  4. Children in migration: improving the conditions and procedures that lead to children in migration going missing as well as advocating for and facilitating better cross border responses when they do disappear.
  5. Strengthening the agility and capability of the network to identify, respond and engage with emerging and under-addressed drivers and consequences of missing, including responses to missing children.

Read the full statement.

Measuring tangible impact

Our work is about so much more than sharing posters of missing children across Europe. Our broad focus on prevention, support and follow-up care in missing cases is thoroughly based in research and in the views of children with experience of going missing. We really look forward to increasing our direct engagement with them, because everything we do is driven by our impact on children.”

– Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, President of Missing Children Europe

About Missing Children Europe 

Missing Children Europe is the European federation for missing and sexually exploited children, representing 31 organisations from 26 European countries. We provide the link between research, policies and organisations on the ground, to protect children from any kind of violence, abuse or neglect that causes them to go missing, or results from them going missing.

We coordinate the 116000 hotlines providing support to missing children and families and the network of Cross-Border Family Mediators that can help resolve international family conflicts.

Find out more: www.missingchildreneurope.eu

Why our work is crucial:  

  • According to the latest available data, a least 250,000 children are reported missing in the EU each year[1], so at least 1.75 million citizens are directly touched by the issue.
  • Our 116000 hotlines in 22 countries play a key part in supporting children that go missing as well as their families.
  • Almost 1 in 5 cases reported to our 11600 hotlines are cross-border in nature, requiring support on cross-border collaboration.[2]


Musu Kargbo-Reffell, Communications Officer at Missing Children Europe, musu.kargbo-Reffell@missingchildreneurope.eu


[1] European Commission, Missing Children in the European Union, 2013

[2] Missing Children Europe, Figures & Trends, 2020