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In 2012, 311 children went missing in Greece

25 May 2013 / 20:05:55  GRReporter
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"We are uniting our efforts for the benefit of children. Let's not allow their future to fail," was the message of the organisation Children’s Smile on the occasion of International Missing Children's Day, which took place for the ninth consecutive year on 25 May.

In 2012, the European Hotline 116 000 for missing children in Greece received almost 7,000 calls from parents, children, citizens and police departments. Of these calls, 18.3% were for the reporting of new disappearances and seeking help in the search; 5.5% - information about missing children, and 18.2% - information about a child who is being sought.

Of the 132 requests received on the hotline 116 000 for support in the search, 53% were related to children of Greek nationality aged between 13-18 years. Volunteers of the organisation provided their services in 127 cases, of which 83% of the children were found, and the rest are still missing. According to Ioanna Lagoumidzi, coordinator of the European Hotline 116 000, of the 22 children who are still missing 13 were victims of parental kidnapping - a fact which reduces the number of disappearances to 9.

Children’s Smile also contributed towards the coordinated combatting of these cases by the publication of 10 cases from social groups and the media - in 3 cases the tracing system Amber Alert Hellas was activated successfully; the newly established Action Group Thanassis Makris acted in 9 cases, and volunteer psychologists of the organisation provided instructions in the rest of the cases.

As for data for the first quarter of 2013, the European Hotline 116 000 received 41 requests for assistance in the search for missing children aged between 13-18 years. Most of them (80%) were related to runaway teenagers, 5% - abductions by a parent, and 5% - alarming disappearances of minors.

Children’s Smile acted in 34 of these 41 cases, in which 34 children were found. According to Mrs Lagoumidzi, apart from these successful cases, one more child was found who went missing in 2012.

Reasons for disappearances

The majority of children who usually disappear from their family, namely 46%, do so because of poor relationships with their parents, and 30% of these cases are related to problems with love relationships. On a European level, the hotline 116 000 received 89,340 calls, of which 4,139 were authorised. 68% of all cases were related to running away from home, while 23% involved abductions by a parent.

A low level of disappearances in Greece

According to international statistics information from ICMEC, every year, 800,000 disappearances of children are reported in the USA, which means that about 2,000 children disappear every day. In Germany, the number of such cases reaches 100,000, in Australia -20,000, in Brazil – 45,000, and in Russia -13,455.

Data of the Greek police

Along with the information from Child’s Smile, the official statistics of the Department of missing people with the Greek police was presented, according to which, in 2012, 94 children, many of whom are teenagers, disappeared in Attica and 217 in the rest of Greece. In 2013, so far 48 children have disappeared in Attica and 90 in the rest of the country.

According to police officer Panagiotis Papandonis, kidnappings included only abductions by parents, and not by strangers.

Tags: missing children European line 116 000 Children's Smile Organisation kidnappings running away
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