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Registration with Child Rescue Alert Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Child Rescue Alert?

Child Rescue Alert is a system designed to alert the public, as quickly as possible, to an abduction or other high risk child disappearance.  Statistics show that the initial hours after a child is abducted are crucial, and a sighting by a member of the public can lead to the safe recovery of the child. Child Rescue Alert can be applied anywhere in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland at local, regional or national levels.

An Alert can be sent directly to individuals – for example by text message (SMS) - and reach many more people  through broadcast media such as television and digital billboards.

Do systems such as the Child Rescue Alert work?

Since its inception 679 children have been safely recovered due to the American Amber Alert system.  In 2012 68 children in USA were safely recovered in circumstances which could be directly attributed to the Amber Alert system. Amber Alert Netherlands reports that the Amber Alert system has been used there on average 4 times per year over the last few years.   In 64% of these cases the child was found thanks to tips arising from the AMBER Alert. 

When do you use a Child Rescue Alert? 

Child Rescue Alert is intended to be activated by the police when particular criteria are met:

  1. The child is believed to be under 18 years old;
  2. There is a perception that the child is in imminent danger of serious harm or death;
  3. There is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist police in locating the child.

Why not use a Child Rescue Alert for every missing child?

When Child Rescue Alert is activated huge numbers of people will very quickly become aware of the endangered child. They need to be motivated sufficiently to keep their eyes open and be prepared to report sightings. We have to ensure that people notice the alerts. This is why there are strict criteria. If alerts are raised too frequently Child Rescue Alert could become ineffective. Many types of publicity appeal are made for other missing children in the UK by police forces, the charity Missing People and through the MissingKids website.

If you have information about a missing child who is not the subject of a ChildRescue Alert, please call or text 116 000, or click here   

Who is responsible for Child Rescue Alert?

Child Rescue Alert is the responsibility of the CEOP, a command of the National Crime Agency (NCA). It is managed in partnership with the charity, Missing People, which is responsible for its promotion as well as its operation using a subscription website and underlying alerting software supplied by Groupcall. Other supporting organisations are listed on the Supporterspage.

Which other countries use a Child Rescue Alert?

Systems similar to Child Rescue Alert are in operation in USAIreland, the Netherlands andGreece amongst others. Our long-term plans are to work towards linking to other EU counties with Alert systems. The interconnection is being progressed by Missing Children Europe, of which Missing People is the UK member. Other supporters of the EU wide approach includeAmber Alert Europe.  

How do I know a Child Rescue Alert is genuine? 

SMS messages will come from Child Alert and will include a link to this official website. Emails will come from alert@childrescuealert.org.uk and will also contain a link to this website. There will be no adverts. To avoid these important messages being caught in your spam filter you might like to add alert@childrescuealert.org.uk to the safe senders list of your email system.

 I want to register

Why can’t I receive all Child Rescue Alerts?

Most Child Rescue Alerts will have a local focus. Local media are likely to be the first to receive the alert together with individuals who live in the area. This means that only local people will respond and police can concentrate their resources on these local responses. Some alerts may become nationwide and be carried by the national broadcast media, and, if the police think it will help, it is possible that subscribers will be notified individually. Text messages will only be sent locally. 

When will I receive Child Rescue Alerts?

If you register you will receive alerts to tell you that a child is in danger in your local area. It is so important that these alerts are raised quickly that they can come at any time of day or night although they are more likely to be issued during the day.  If you don’t want an alert at night then you can switch off your phone.

How often will I receive an alert?

Child Rescue Alerts are expected to be raised very infrequently. It is expected that there will be up to 6 each year.  Most of these will be issued locally only so you are likely to receive even fewer.

 How will I know that a child has been found?

The Child Rescue Alert website will be updated when the child is found and there will be updates on Missing People’s social media networks (Twitter and Facebook).  You might also hear about it on news media.

What do you do with my data?

The data you provide is stored in a secure database in the UK.  It is used only for the purposes to which you agree when registering. You can remove your data from the database bycancelling your registration.

Will Child Rescue Alert cost me money?

No. It costs nothing to sign up and Alerts cost nothing to reach you. 

When we send you a Child Rescue Alert by text (SMS) message it will contain a link to a specially created page on this website that shows the child’s picture and provides more details. Please note that following the link will use part of your free data allowance, or could incur a cost if you don’t have a data allowance. Note also that, if you could receive a Child Rescue Alert by text (SMS) message when you are abroad, following the link to the website may also incur roaming charges. Please contact your phone provider for precise costs.

To help the charity Missing People continue to be able to provide Child Rescue Alert for free, please make a donation here.

I’ve seen a missing child.  What should I do?

If the child is the subject of a Child Rescue Alert then immediately contact the telephone number indicated on the Child Rescue Alert itself. This is the fastest way to get the information – which could be vital - to the police.

If the child is NOT the subject of a Child Rescue Alert, please call or text the charity Missing People on 116 000, or click here.  All contacts are free and confidential. Alternatively, contact your local police station.

How can I cancel my registration?

To cancel your registration and have your information removed from the Child Rescue Alert's database, click here.

Help the Child Rescue Alert

How can I help Child Rescue Alert?

There are a number of ways you can help the Child Rescue Alert:

  1. Register your details to receive alerts;
  2. Tell your friends about it and encourage them to register too;
  3. Encourage your employer to get involved as a media partner and / or as a supporter;
  4. Make a donation to the charity Missing People.

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