We are delighted to announce today the new partnership between Child Rescue Alert and Facebook. This huge step forward for the Child Rescue Alert system will harness the power of the social media giant’s community when a child’s life is believed to be at immediate risk. With over half of the UK population registered to Facebook, today’s announcement means that Child Rescue Alerts will have the potential to reach a far greater audience than ever before.
A staggering 140,000 children go missing each year in the UK. Recent research has shown a 13% increase in child abductions in the past year, when nearly 900 child abductions and child kidnappings were reported in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The six hours following a child’s disappearance – often referred to as the ‘golden hours’ – are critical to the investigation. The sooner the public is alerted to a disappearance, the greater the chance of the child’s safe return.
This innovative partnership will see Facebook utilise its latest technology to target alerts to specific geographical areas. Like the established email and SMS format of Child Rescue Alert, the Facebook format will feature a photo of the missing child along with a description, location of the abduction and any other available information that can be provided to the public to aid in the search. Once issued, the alert will instantly appear on the Facebook newsfeed, with the alert’s reach increased by ‘shares’ from Facebook users.
Jo Youle, Chief Executive of the charity Missing People which manages the Child Rescue Alert system in partnership with the CEOP Command of the National Crime Agency and Groupcall said “Every minute after a child’s disappearance is crucial to bringing them home safely. This fantastic new partnership with Facebook will mean even more members of the public can help safeguard children in the most extreme danger - and hopefully save a child’s life”.
A spokesperson for National Crime Agency says “The speed at which a large number of people can be reached and the opportunities for targeting the search area through Facebook will be valuable tools for police forces in the event of issuing a CRA.”
A spokesperson for Groupcall says “Groupcall are delighted that Facebook are now supporting Child Rescue Alert having provided the technology behind the system”.
Since the launch of the enhanced Child Rescue Alert in May 2014 this is a milestone achievement, with Missing People and partnering organisations looking forward to improving the system’s effectiveness even further in the future.