Charity raises concern over the increase in missing children

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A charity has warned of an “alarming” rise in the number of children going missing in parts of the UK.

The charity Railway Children, which complied the information, said Northamptonshire saw the number of under 18s running away from home more than double, from 885 in 2008 to 1,827 in 2011. Andy McCullough, Railway Children’s head of strategy and policy, said: “It is alarming to see that the numbers of children reported missing across the country has risen so significantly year on year.

“Of those who are reported missing, the majority are young people who have run away from home or care. Children run away for many reasons, usually to escape things they find stressful such as problems at school or home. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Anecdotal research indicates that as many as two thirds of young people who run away from home are not even reported missing and may be too vulnerable and afraid to seek help from official services.”

Across the UK it is estimated a child under 16 runs away from home every five minutes, equating to 100,000 children each year, Railway Children said.