Missing persons week begins
YOUNG people will be encouraged to talk to someone before they think about disappearing from home, as part of National Missing Persons Week, which starts on Monday.
The week aims to raise awareness for the 35,000 Australians who go missing each year - 20,000 of whom were under 18.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police said even if young people did not think they had gone missing, they should think about what the people who cared for them.
"Young people go missing for a number of reasons: family conflict, wanting to become independent, being the victim of a crime, forgetting to tell someone where you are going, mental health problems, drug or alcohol abuse, other forms of abuse and neglect," she said.
"Anyone in Australia can be reported missing if their disappearance is out of character and there are concerns for their safety and welfare.
"You don't have to wait 24 hours to report someone as missing.
"The spokeswoman said about 95% of people who are reported missing to police turned up within a week, and help was available from trusted friends or family, or a school counsellor, youth health advisor or GP.
Children who need to talk to someone can call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre on 1800 000 634.
Prevention tips for children:
- You're not alone - there is always someone who will listen and help.
- Make sure you let someone know if you change your plans.
- It's OK to say NO to anything that doesn't feel comfortable or makes you feel scared.
- If you're in any danger or feel unsafe contact police or a trusted person.
- Know how and when to call the emergency number.
- Know how to walk safely to and from school and where to find help if needed.
- Always walk with a group of friends.
- Never approach or enter a vehicle if someone stops to ask you questions.
- If you're alone at home don't open the door or tell people you are home alone.
- Know how to stay safe online.