International Missing Children's Day

IMCD header image 2019

International Missing Children's Day (IMCD), 25 May, 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 who are still missing. The symbol for IMCD is the forget-me-not flower.

The observance of May 25 as Missing Children's Day began in the United States in 1983. 25 May marks the anniversary of when six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school on 25 May 1979. Etan's story received national coverage as his father, a photographer, circulated black and white pictures of his missing son to media outlets. Etan's father's efforts to inform the public led to recognition of the need for new initiatives and a commitment to reunite missing children with their families.

In 2001, May 25 was first observed as IMCD through the efforts of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Missing Children Europe, and the European Commission. 25 May is now being commemorated across the world by many different cultures and organisations in the hope children will find their way home.

In 2021 in Australia alone over 34,000 young people were reported missing to police. Most children who are reported missing are found safe and well within 24 hours, but for those who are not, what follows can be months, years or even a lifetime of heartbreak and confusion for their families.

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

As individuals, professionals and organisations, we have a responsibility to protect our children. Together we can help bring them home.

For further information on global missing children, as well as viewing their profiles, visit the Global Missing Children's Network.

The AFP work with State and Territory Police to profile cases in the hope that the exposure will help solve these cases. See the news and media section for more information on previous and current campaigns.

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IMCD 2022

This year the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) marked IMCD by revisiting the dedicated IMCD tree located at the National Arboretum in Canberra, where in 2021 AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw APM, officiated a tree dedication.  Find out more here.

IMCD 2021

The NMPCC marked International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) 2021 with a tree dedication ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra that was officiated by AFP Commissioner, Reece Kershaw APM.

The tree dedication symbolises the ongoing commitment of the AFP to provide assistance to our State and Territory policing partners in finding missing children and, more broadly, all missing persons, as well as cementing a permanent fixture of remembrance for families of missing children to visit. 

The ceremony was attended by AFP Executive, members of the NMPCC and National Arboretum officials.

The ceremony proceedings were filmed and packaged with additional footage provided by Bruce and Denise Morcombe, parents of former missing child Daniel Morcombe, and AFP Detective Superintendent Greg Mowle who has experience in investigating missing child cases.

Through this campaign the NMPCC aim to educate the community on the impacts of living with a missing child and to provide families and friends of missing children a permanent place of remembrance.

If you believe you have information relating to a missing child or missing person that may assist police with their investigations, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

You can help share the NMPCC’s content and view the tree dedication ceremony video on the NMPCC Facebook page 

Missing persons profiles can be viewed on www.missingpersons.gov.au.  

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