Scoping Research on the Impact of missing children publicity appeals

  • Shalev, Karen (PI)

Project Details


Thousands of children are reported missing each year across the EU. A common approach used to help find missing children is to conduct a publicity campaign. The most common channels for publicity are websites, posters and social media. Previous research and policies regarding this issue have focused on the possible risks to a missing child while they are missing and whether publicity appeals such as AMBER alert assist in finding a missing child. To date few attempts have been made to evaluate the effectiveness of publicity campaigns, all of which were carried out in the USA. While scarce, the research tends to reveal disappointing results and suggest that publicity appeals don’t necessarily positively impact the investigation or search.

Furthermore, there is a gap in understanding the impact publicity appeals have on these children once they are found and become young adults. The dissemination of images of missing children raises potential issues regarding the impact that it may have on the protection of the child’s privacy and overall wellbeing. Given these concerns, it is essential to evaluate the impact publicity appeals have on the missing children, and the missing children’s families.
This study will inform policy makers how best to manage public images once children are found, in order to prevent long term negative impact on the lives of these young people. The output of this project will also aim to be a guide to help other countries understand what factors are needed in order to manage publicity appeals most effectively, and provide relevant support to their families.

Therefore, the aims of this scoping research project will be:
1: Impact of publicity appeals on children who have been reported missing
2: Impact of publicity appeals on relatives of children who have been reported missing
Effective start/end date23/06/1630/11/16


  • European Federation for Missing & Sexually Exploited Children: £3,300.00


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