Kate McCann and the mothers of other missing children have asked MPs to
make more support available to families
Mrs McCann, whose daughter Madeleine went missing from her
family's holiday flat in Portugal four years has spoken about the
"unimaginable, unending heartbreak, confusion, guilt, and worry" when
loved ones go missing.
She has called on the Government to improve support for families after
speaking before the first parliamentary inquiry into the issue.
In a statement outside the House of Commons, Mrs McCann said relatives
should be spared "the additional pain of financial and legal
She said there was "currently no legislation to protect missing people
and their families left behind".
Sarah Godwin (L), Kate McCann and Nicki Durbin (R)
Holding a picture of Madeleine, she said: "If your house is
burgled, you are automatically offered victim support with emotional,
practical and legal assistance.
"If your child goes missing, you may get nothing.
"This parliamentary inquiry has the potential to change that."
The inquiry also heard from Sarah Godwin, whose son Quentin was
18 when he went missing in New Zealand in 1992, and Nicki Durbin, from
Suffolk, whose son Luke disappeared in 2006, aged 19, following an
evening at a nightclub in Ipswich.
Kate McCann told MPs she did not think it should be left to
"grieving parents" to search for their child.
She added that this was compounded by a "lack of communication
She recommended a single point of contact between the families of
missing people and the police.
Ann Coffey, chairwoman of the
All Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and
Missing Children and Adults, said the MPs were examining what
emotional, practical and legal support those families need to help them
cope at such a traumatic time
McCann disappeared on the Algarve in 2007
Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of
Missing People, said: "From
dealing with finances, insurance policies, bank accounts and mortgages
through to having a missing person declared presumed dead, families left
behind often struggle to deal with institutions that have no system for
their clients going missing.
"This inquiry is a landmark opportunity for parliamentarians to
ensure that families are able to access the full range of support that
they so desperately need."
Mrs McCann, 43, from Rothley, Leicestershire, will give evidence
as Scotland Yard continues its review of the investigation into her
daughter's disappearance in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
The official Portuguese inquiry into the disappearance was
formally shelved in July 2008, although private detectives employed by
the McCanns have continued the search.
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call the
Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90.