What to do when a child goes missing

Comment on this story
Copy of ca safe sound ident-a-kid DONE (30297534) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Bastion Primary School in Brackenfell launched a project to compile a database of its pupils, with fingerprints and DNA samples. Here Sjean de Kock, left, a fourth-year social work student, takes a hair sample from a Grade 1 pupil, seven-year-old Anita Steyn. Piicture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - If your child disappears, do not waste any time reporting it. That’s the number one tip to all parents and guardians during the holidays.

A child disappears every six hours in South Africa – that’s 1 460 children each year – and of these 87 percent are found within the first week.

The police advise: “There is no waiting period before reporting a person as missing; time is of the essence so it should be done immediately.

“The sooner you report a missing person to the police, the sooner they can assist you in searching for him/her.”

When a child disappears, Missing Children SA advises:

* Don’t wait 24 hours.

* Complete a “Saps 55” form at the nearest police station.

* Contact Missing Children SA at 072 647 7464.

* Send them this information: the name and age of the child; how the child went missing; case number; police information, including the name of the officer who assisted; and the most recent photo of the child.

* Keep Missing Children SA updated on the progress.

Other tips from the police include knowing the schedules and movements of loved ones and family, and knowing your children’s friends. Police also recommend making a point of remembering the clothing they wear.

After reporting the case to police:

* Check local spots frequently visited by the missing child .

* Place posters, including a picture of the missing child, in store windows or notice boards in the community.

* Check again with your child’s friends, school and neighbours.

* Search for clues in your child’s bedroom, computer files and diary.

Missing Children SA advises parents to teach children the importance of not going anywhere alone and knowing their address and home phone numbers. - Cape Argus

Get our free Lifestyle newsletter - subscribe here...

For support and fun on your parenting journey, join our Babynet forum....

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines