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Repeat missing child reports in Wales

Hutchings, Emma; Browne, Kevin D.; Chou, Shihning; Wade, Kerry


Emma Hutchings

Kevin D. Browne

Shihning Chou

Kerry Wade


Background: There were approximately 306,000 reports of missing persons in the UK from 2012 to 2013, 64% involved children. Repeat missing incidents account for approximately 38% of reported missing incidences. Within their research Biehal et al. (2003) identified that 70% of missing children had voluntarily left their home and the majority of these were considered to have 'run away'. Research suggests that there is heavy demand on public services in responding to children that are regularly reported missing.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore data recorded in respect of children reported missing as a result of running away. The main objective of this study was to develop a set of risk factors to predict repeat missing incidences using a logistic regression method.

Participants and setting: This study explored the characteristics of 523 children who were reported missing to Gwent (Wales) Police as a result of running away.

Methods: Using data collected by the Gwent Missing Children's Team in Wales, over a one-year period, this study compared two groups of children: 275 (53%) who were reported missing once ('low risk') and 248 (47%) who were reported more than once ('high risk').

Results: Results indicated that five significant risk factors identified by logistic regression could distinguish outcome in 73% of cases. The five risk factors were; looked after children, substance use, suspected sexual exploitation, known to Youth Offending Services and a history of abuse/neglect.

Conclusions: These risk factors could potentially be used in Gwent to guide intervention strategies, with those children identified as 'high risk' of repeat missing incidents requiring more comprehensive intervention and support.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2019
Journal Child Abuse & Neglect
Print ISSN 0145-2134
Electronic ISSN 1873-7757
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 88
Pages 107-117
Institution Citation Hutchings, E., Browne, K. D., Chou, S., & Wade, K. (2019). Repeat missing child reports in Wales. Child Abuse and Neglect, 88, 107-117. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.11.004
Keywords Missing child reports; Looked after children; Runaways; Child maltretament; abuse and neglect
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Repeat missing child reports in Wales; Journal Title: Child Abuse & Neglect; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


This file is under embargo until Nov 21, 2020 due to copyright restrictions.

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