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  • The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) says there has been a four per cent decline in the number of children reported missing for January to July 2015, compared with the similar period in 2014.
  • This is based on preliminary statistics from the Missing Person Monitoring Unit (MPMU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, which indicate that there were 1,224 missing children over the seven-month period.
  • Deputy OCR Registrar, Warren Thompson, said the data also showed that approximately eight out of every 10 children reported missing from January to July have since returned home.

The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) says there has been a four per cent decline in the number of children reported missing for January to July 2015, compared with the similar period in 2014.

This is based on preliminary statistics from the Missing Person Monitoring Unit (MPMU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, which indicate that there were 1,224 missing children over the seven-month period.

Deputy OCR Registrar, Warren Thompson, who gave the figures at the first staging of the Ananda Alert student forum at the Jamaica Theological Seminary in Kingston on October 27, informed that 80 per cent of the children reported missing were females and 20 per cent were males.

He said the data also showed that approximately eight out of every 10 children reported missing from January to July have since returned home.

Mr. Thompson said that while there was a decline in the number of children reported missing, as at 12 August 2015, “there was a more than twofold increase, of 157 per cent, in the number of children, who were still missing when compared to the corresponding period in 2014.”

“The number of children reported still missing at the end of July 2015 increased to 234 children, from the 91 recorded at period end in 2014,” he noted further.

He said that the figures are of concern to the OCR and emphasised the need for Jamaicans to get involved in the care and protection of the nation’s children.

He informed that over 200 volunteers have been trained in search and rescue and first aid to assist in the safe recovery of a child in the event of a planned search by the police.

Also, he said the OCR will continue to keep the public informed through the use of email blasts, website content, Facebook and Twitter posts, and alerts in the Observer newspaper and through Global Media Services.

Students from Tivoli Gardens, Edith Dalton James, Papine, Tarrant and The Queen’s School were present at the event, which is the first to be held across the island during the 2015/16 academic year, to garner input from high school students, ages 13 to 17 years, regarding the reasons children go missing.

Similar sessions will be held in Clarendon, Trelawny, and St. Mary.

Ananda Alert, a nationwide system used for the safe and speedy recovery of missing children, was transferred to the Ministry of Youth and Culture on March 1, 2013, with the OCR assuming responsibility for its operation.

The initiative involves raising public awareness of missing children, and strengthening rescue, recovery and intervention measures that are vital to the welfare of child victims and their families.

For additional details, persons may visit the Registry’s website at www.ocr.gov.jm, or call 1-888-PROTECT (776-8328) to report a missing or abused child.