International Missing Children’s Day 2021: Commemorative tree dedicated to all missing children

IMCD header image 2019

The Australian Federal Police’s National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) is honouring International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) 2021 with a tree dedication at the National Arboretum in Canberra for all missing children and their families.

IMCD is commemorated annually on the 25 May. IMCD is a day where people around the world commemorate the missing children who have found their way home, remember those who have been victims of crime and continue efforts to find those still missing.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw officiated the tree dedication ceremony on behalf of the AFP. The tree dedication offers a permanent fixture for reflection and remembrance of all missing children and their families. A short video -which can be viewed here- highlights the tree dedication ceremony and what this place of remembrance means to families of missing children and the police officers who work tirelessly to find them.

“This tree located at the National Arboretum in Canberra is a symbol of hope and strength for the families, friends, community and the police officers who investigate the cases,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

“This tree is a permanent fixture of commemoration and a place for loved ones to come, reflect and be reminded that we remain committed to bringing their children home.”

In Australia, approximately 25,000 young people are reported missing to police each year. This makes up almost two thirds of all missing persons reports in Australia. Most young people are located safe and well, but unfortunately some remain missing after days, months and years. The impact on families and friends when a loved one goes missing is devastating. When that loved one is a child, it becomes almost unbearable.

The impact is deeply felt by Bruce and Denise Morcombe, whose 13-year-old son Daniel went missing in 2003.

“We had no idea what had happened to him, we also had no place to reflect, honour and remember him,” Bruce Morcombe said.

“This commemorative tree is significant for police, family and friends because it’s a dedicated place to symbolically resolve to continue the search to find missing children,” Denise Morcombe said.

Detective Superintendent Greg Mowle, who has experience investigating missing children cases, reflects on the impacts unresolved cases have had on him personally.

“As a police officer part of your remit is to help people and the fact that you haven’t actually been able to achieve this is a lingering emptiness,” Detective Superintendent Mowle said.

Commissioner Kershaw reaffirmed the commitment of the AFP to continue to work with families, policing partners and the community to try and locate Australian missing persons because this is not just a police effort, it takes a community.

Importantly, there are steps everyone can follow to raise awareness of the issue of missing children and assist police with their investigations. You can:

For more on the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, visit www.missingpersons.gov.au.

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media: +61 (02) 5126 9297  

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