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Written Declaration: Introduction of an EU Missing Child Alert Kate and Gerry McCann Sponsors: E McMillan-Scott, G Kinnock, R Angelilli, D Wallis, E Gebhardt.

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Presentation on theme: "Written Declaration: Introduction of an EU Missing Child Alert Kate and Gerry McCann Sponsors: E McMillan-Scott, G Kinnock, R Angelilli, D Wallis, E Gebhardt."— Presentation transcript:

1 Written Declaration: Introduction of an EU Missing Child Alert Kate and Gerry McCann Sponsors: E McMillan-Scott, G Kinnock, R Angelilli, D Wallis, E Gebhardt Brussels 10 th April 2008

2 Madeleine McCann

3 Child Abduction Scale of the problem is uncertain – especially in Europe In US approximately 115 stereotypical kidnappings per year 40-50% of the children are killed Death most likely in the first few hours Speed of response critical to optimise outcome- safely recovering the child

4 US AMBER alert Introduced 1996 in Texas Following abduction and murder of 9 yr old Amber Hagerman System based on the emergency weather alert 120 systems –38 local, 53 state-wide, 29 regional Dissemination of key information to galvanise the public as quickly as possible –Interruption of broadcasts (TV and radio), dissemination through media and wireless networks PROTECT Act 2003 –National AMBER alert coordinator in Dept. of Justice

5 US AMBER Alert: Statistics 393 children recovered since inception –Over 90% since October % of children recovered within 72 hours Use of the alert decreasing – alerts for 338 children – alerts for 316 children – alerts for 278 children In 2007: –68 children rescued directly as a result of the alert –16 children released safely after the abductor heard/saw the alert

6 AMBER Alert: Examples 2007 Case 1: Dec 20 Portsmouth, Virginia – 1 month old reported missing with care provider. After alert, 2 hospital workers recognised the child’s clothing and abductor was apprehended by police Case 2: Dec 19, Columbia, Illinois –14 yr old female abducted at knife point, a motorist heard the alert and recognised the vehicle, called police who pursued the vehicle across state lines rescuing child Case 3: Jan 26 Maricopa, Arizona –6 yr old abducted by family acquaintance (sex offender). Suspect heard the alert and released the child who was safely picked up by another motorist who recognised the child from the alert. AMBER alert/success stories

7 EU Child Alerts AMBER type alerts France 2006:Alerte Enl è vementNational UK 2006Child Rescue AlertNational (England/Wales) Greece 2007AMBER AlertNational Non-AMBER alerts BelgiumNGO alert National

8 Alert Enlèvement: France Introduced 2006 Used on 5 Occasions All children recovered successfully

9 Support for an EU Child Alert System European Commission –January 2007 Hotline ( ) reserved for missing children –October 2007 Draft guidelines presented Supported by Justice and Interior Ministers NGO’s –Missing Children Europe (21 NGO’s 15 EU countries) –ICMEC –PACT

10 Written Declaration THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, Having Regard to Rule 116 of its Procedures AWhereas the abduction of a child is amongst the most inhumane of crimes BWhereas commission of such crimes is increasing in Europe and may involve transporting victims across state borders C Whereas the prospects of saving the life of an abducted child decreases as time passes D Whereas there is no Europe-wide alert system for child disappearances nor any local or national systems throughout much of the European Union

11 1)CALLS on member states to introduce a missing child alert system, the activation of which shall require the immediate supply to relevant news media, border authorities, customs, and law enforcement agencies, details of: a)the missing child, with a photograph if available b)information relevant to the disappearance and/or the suspected abductor(s) c)a telephone number to call ( ) and address

12 2.CALLS on member states to reach cooperation agreements with all bordering states to ensure the capacity to raise an alert rapidly across any relevant territories 3. CALLS for the creation of a common organisation to provide assistance and training to national bodies 4. INSTRUCTS its President to forward this Declaration, together with the names of its signatories, to the Council and the Commission

13 EU Child Alert- Suggested Criteria The victim is a minor (<18 years) The health or life of the child is at risk –In the opinion of the law enforcement officer Information is available that may allow the child to be found with the help of the public Dissemination of the information is not likely to increase the risk to the child (Activated by law enforcement)

14 Content of the Alert Day, time and location of abduction Name of victim, clothing and picture (as soon as available) Vehicle description (if any) Suspect description (If any)

15 Format and Alert Duration/Frequency Poster-like info for TV, print media and internet Recorded voice message for radio, public transport, podcast SMS and MMS for mobile phones Short and focussed –3 hours- 1 week Frequent –15 minutes – single depending on media Alert must be terminated

16 Cross Border Alerts Reasons to believe perpetrator crossed border Abduction/disappearance occurred close to border(s) Abducted Child is a foreign national Perpetrator is foreign national Based on similar National alerts Groupings of Regional alerts depending on geography / timing of abduction

17 Conclusion Child abduction is an horrific crime Alert systems save lives The public are a valuable resource in missing children cases The cost is minimal


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