A new report has been released by NYAS and The Children’s Society which Llamau were pleased to be involved with. The report reveals that every hour another child is reported missing in Wales.

The new report highlights how care-experienced children and young people are more likely to be reported missing than their peers. Despite making up only 1% of the child population in Wales, Freedom of Information requests found that 39% of the total missing child incidents recorded by local councils last year involved a child in care.

Children in Wales are more likely to repeatedly go missing than children in England, where Return Interviews are a legal requirement. Without effective intervention, children who go missing once are very likely to go missing again.

Llamau has been running independent mediation and debriefing services for young people and children who go missing in Gwent and Dyfed Powys since 2015 and we are thrilled to see the report call for Independent return Interviews being a Statutory requirement whenever children go missing in Wales.

Sam Lewis, Operational Director for Llamau said, “25% of all referrals for de-brief by Llamau display signs of possible child sexual exploitation (CSE). In addition to CSE, we also identify issues during debriefs where young people are at significant risk due to criminal behaviour. Independent debriefing services following missing episodes are crucial in identifying the underlying reasons why children and young people go missing. Without these interventions, children who go missing once are very likely to go missing again, putting them at significant risk and increasing their risk of homelessness in the future.”

Missing incidents for Under 18s in Dyfed Powys reduced by 30% between 2015 and 2019, equating to a reduction of over 550 individual missing episodes.

Sam Lewis went on to say, “We are pleased to have supported the development of this report alongside our third sector partners and statutory bodes and are fully backing its recommendations. It is crucial that we listen to young people and children and understand their experiences in order to ensure that we can protect the thousands of children who go missing across Wales every year.

The report is available here in both English and Welsh language.