Abuse and disappearances: two closely related phenomena
Today is the International Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. It is an opportunity to recall that this scourge is very often the vector of disappearances.
The current pandemic has not led to a decrease in disappearances. On the contrary, the number of runaways is increasing.
Confinement and measures are forcing some children and adolescents, victims of abuse, to spend more time at home in difficult conditions. A context that pushes these minors to run away and finding themselves in a situation of extreme vulnerability.
Already in 2019, our counterparts at Missing Children Europe reported that 68% of disappearance cases involving abuse and/or violence in Europe were runaway cases. Physical and emotional violence within the family was the most common cause of these disappearances.
The same is true for unaccompanied minors. As migrants, these children are more than vulnerable to abuse, forced labor, and sexual exploitation. Among them, those who have been reported missing are, in most cases, never found.
And we do not forget the silent ones. Those who have not disappeared but who suffer without saying anything. Those who suffer in complete anonymity.
The period we are going through is obviously not easy for anyone and we all have difficulties to overcome. But on this day of prevention, let us have a little thought for these children and adolescents who more than need our support.