Facebook forms breakthrough partnership with Child Rescue Alert
With over half of the UK population on Facebook, child rescue alerts will now be able to reach a much bigger audience.
A new partnership has been formed between Child Rescue Alert and Facebook.
Child Rescue Alert is overseen by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) – a command of the National Crime Agency – and is managed in partnership with the independent charity Missing People and Groupcall (which delivers the technology behind the system).
The Child Rescue Alert project was funded in 2014 by players of People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund and the EU. The Dream Fund, which awarded £225,000 to the project, offers organisations the opportunity to create a project they have always dreamed of, but never had the opportunity to bring to life.
Harnessing the power of the Facebook community
It is hoped that the new deal will “harness the power of the social media giant’s community when a child’s life is believed to be at immediate risk”.
Jo Youle, Chief Executive of the charity Missing People, said “Every minute after a child’s disappearance is crucial to bringing them home safely.
This fantastic new partnership with Facebook will mean even more members of the public can help safeguard children in the most extreme danger – and hopefully save a child’s life”.
How will it work?
Facebook will use its newest technology to target alerts to specific geographic areas. Similar to the existing email and SMS format of Child Rescue Alert, the new Facebook format will include a photo of the missing child alongside a description, location of the abduction and information that can be given to the public to help in the search.
Alerts will appear on the Facebook newsfeed, with the hope that they will be furthered by Facebook shares.
‘Valuable tools’ for police
According to a statement by Child Rescue Alert, 140,000 children go missing each year in the UK.
Furthermore, recent research has revealed a 13 per cent increase in child abductions in the past year, when almost 900 child abductions and child kidnappings were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The quicker the public is aware of a disappearance, the better the chance of a child’s safe return. Sometimes referred to as the ‘golden hours’, the six hours following a children’s disappearance are crucial to the investigation.
A spokesperson for National Crime Agency said: “The speed at which a large number of people can be reached and the opportunities for targeting the search area through Facebook will be valuable tools for police forces in the event of issuing a CRA.”