Missing child

All cases where a child is missing from home or care should be reported to the police whether they are absent, missing or absconding.

Difference between missing and absent

It's important that you know the difference between missing and absent:

Missing person

A missing person is someone whose whereabouts can't be established and where the circumstances are out of character or suggest they may have been a victim of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another.


A person is absent if they're not at a place where they're expected or required to be.

Further definitions and guidance can be found on the LSCB website.

What to do if a child is missing

You should call the police by dialling 999 as soon as you're concerned that your child may be missing. You should also contact our Children's Social Care team.


We are all responsible for protecting children, young people and those who are vulnerable. Running away can be symptomatic of wider problems in a child or young person’s life but, whatever the reason, one thing is clear: children who decide to run away are unhappy, vulnerable and in danger.

The Children’s Society has identified the following risk factors that can lead to a child or young person going missing: 

  • Arguments and conflicts  
  • Conflict within a placement
  • Poor family relationships
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Boundaries and control
  • Step parent issues

 The immediate risks associated with going missing include:    

  • No means of support or legitimate income,leading to high risk activities
  • Involvement in criminal activities
  • Victim of abuse    
  • Victim of crime, for example through sexual assault and exploitation
  • Alcohol/substance misuse
  • Deterioration of physical and mental health
  • Missing out on schooling and education
  • Increased vulnerability

Where there are any concerns that a child is missing the the police and Children's Social Care should be contacted.

Contact Information

If you believe that a child is at immediate risk, this should be reported without delay to Leicestershire Police on the emergency number 999. Non-emergency reporting can be made by calling 101. You should also make contact with Children’s Services on: 01572 722 407

Leicestershire Police Missing Persons Teams can be contacted as follows:

Telephone: 101 extension 5008/5280/5277/5138/5305 (8am to 11pm)

Email: CMFH_Team@leicestershire.pnn.police.uk

You can also speak with a social worker by calling our Duty Team on: 01572 722 577
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