Independent MEP Marian Harkin today (June 7) welcomed the formal launch in Ireland of a dedicated, EU-wide 24/7 Missing Children’s Hotline, and said that “this important innovation will work with existing services to provide support when a child goes missing”.
The Hotline, which currently operates in 23 EU Member States on the same freephone number (116000), is now available in Ireland 24/7.
“The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has been granted the licence to operate the Hotline, which is designed to provide social and emotional support for children and families when a child goes missing,” Harkin noted.
Coordination with other services “challenging but worthwhile”
“Coordinating this Hotline fully with other relevant services – i.e. the Gardaí and the HSE – will be a challenge but it is worth overcoming these logistical stumbling blocks in order to have one, easily-accessible contact point for all Irish citizens,” she added.
“A key feature of the Hotline is that it is not an isolated service – it will work with the relevant authorities if there is evidence of health or criminal implications.
“Furthermore, it will be a proactive rather than simply a reactive service, so for example it can provide guidance for parents whose children may be at risk of disappearing, thus potentially solving a problem before it arises.
“With an appropriately widespread public awareness campaign, I believe the Hotline can become a very useful element of child protection in both Ireland and the whole EU,” the Ireland North & West MEP concluded.