International Missing Children’s Day: AFP short film asks Australians to consider world’s missing children

IMCD Cover image girl with pretend binoculars

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has released a short film on International Missing Children’s Day to raise awareness of missing children in Australia and around the world.

Today (25 May) is a day for remembering children from Australia and across the world who are still missing, paying tribute to those who were victims of crime, acknowledging children who found their way home, and supporting the families, friends and communities of missing children in their ongoing search.

The AFP National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) has developed a digital campaign to spread awareness of this important day and the issues associated with it. The campaign includes a digital poster series designed to highlight the prevalence of missing children on a global scale, and the focus piece, a creative video, that depicts a little girl who represents over one million missing children around the world, and the life experiences that could have been.  

AFP Manager Child Protection, Commander Justine Gough, said the short film provides some insight of the effect that a missing child can have upon those who are left behind.

“We hope this film shows the impact that a missing child can have on their family members, friends and loved ones.”

“When a child goes missing, there is not only the initial pain and loss associated with the horrific event, there is also the ongoing impact the family members feel.”

“That child’s potential, everything they could have done, or big milestones they would have achieved are painful reminders of the loss that may have occurred many years earlier,” Commander Gough said.

The loss of a missing child is one felt intensely by Wodonga couple Jim and Cathy McDougall.

In 2007, their daughter, Chantelle and granddaughter, Leela, were reported missing. In the 12 years that have followed, there is still no definitive answer to the question, what happened to them?

 “I guess it doesn’t get any easier, the hard part for me is that it seems to get harder rather than easier,” said Jim McDougall, when reflecting on the life he and his wife lead in hope to one day be reunited with both Chantelle and Leela.

This International Missing Children’s Day the NMPCC is also re-releasing an age-progressed image of Leela McDougall in the hope that someone out there today may be able to recognise her.

“It would be lovely to be able to see her, to talk to her; it’s absolutely a good likeness of her I think”, said Cathy McDougall.

Approximately 25,000 young people are reported missing in Australia every year. Most children who are reported missing are found safe and well within 24 hours. For those who are not, what follows can be months and years of heartbreak and confusion.

Around the world, it is estimated that over one million young people are reported missing every year.

This year’s digital campaign has been shared with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children’s (ICMEC) Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN) in order to promote the message worldwide. The GMCN is an important coalition of 29 countries across five continents that works together to unite the global community to find missing children.

"There are model countries when it comes to finding missing kids and Australia through the AFP's NMPCC, is leading the way," Said Paul Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of ICMEC.

"Together with all of our member countries - we are creating a movement that leverages the best technology and strategy to face this issue.”

“We are proud to celebrate International Missing Children's Day 2019 to highlight the prevalence of missing children worldwide and the progress we are making together”.

For further information on missing persons and to share the International Missing Children’s Day message with your networks, visit ‘The National Missing Persons Coordination’ Facebook page (@AFPNMPCC). Profiles can also be viewed at

The AFP works with State and Territory police to profile missing persons, and the Family Law Courts to publicise and recover parentally abducted children.

Anyone with information relating to a missing or parentally abducted child is urged to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00.


Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333

Subscribe and receive email alerts (link: when new media releases are published.

Missing person from NSW Niamh Maye

Niamh Maye

Niamh Maye was last seen in the Tumut area on Easter Saturday, 30th March 2002. Niamh was travelling to visit her family in Sydney. She has not made any contact with family or...

Missing Person Odette Houghton


Odette Houghton had been living in India for around a year after a period of overseas travel. She was last seen by her family in April 1990 in Thailand, and was wearing her hair...

Missing Person Lorrin Whitehead


Lorrin Whitehead was last seen on Friday 8 February 2013 at 4.55pm at a local supermarket in Bannockburn, Victoria. Her family raised concerns for her wellbeing following her...

See all profiles