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Missing Children: On the Extent, Patterns, and Correlates of Repeat Disappearances by Young People

Babuta, A; Sidebottom, AL; (2020) Missing Children: On the Extent, Patterns, and Correlates of Repeat Disappearances by Young People. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice , 14 (3) pp. 698-711. 10.1093/police/pay066. Green open access

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Abstract

Missing persons investigations are arguably the most common and costly non-crime problem the police are expected to handle, with a large proportion of all cases attributable to young people. This article investigates the prevalence, time course, distance, and correlates of repeat disappearances by children (under the age of 18 years). Using data from one UK police force for the period January 2011 to May 2013 (n = 1,885), we find that (1) nearly two-thirds of all missing child reports are repeat disappearances, (2) a small proportion of children who go missing repeatedly (15%) account for over half of all missing persons incidents, (3) children who go missing repeatedly tend to travel shorter distances than children reported missing once, and (4) the likelihood of a child going missing on multiple occasions is associated with age, being in care, a history of family conflict, and if going missing was judged to be ‘out of character’. The implications of our findings for the prevention of repeat disappearances by young people are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Missing Children: On the Extent, Patterns, and Correlates of Repeat Disappearances by Young People
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/police/pay066
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/police/pay066
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057435
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