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"Really positive": Maddy's mum Kate goes to Downing Street to back new missing children hotline

Original Source: WEDNESDAY 23 MAY 2012
By Paul Cockerton  23 May 2012 20:57

Kate McCann, whose daughter disappeared in 2007 aged three, said the 116000 missing children phone number was a "lifeline" 

Kate McCann (left) meets Holly Valance at a reception for missing people at Downing Street

Kate McCann has hailed the launch of two initiatives to help find missing children. 

She was among guests at a Downing Street reception tonight to celebrate the introduction of a new Europe-wide hotline and the relaunch of an official website with information about Britain's missing and abducted children. 

Mrs McCann, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in 2007 aged three, said the 116000 missing children phone number was a "lifeline" for families like hers. 

She said it was a "really positive day" and spoke of a shift in attitudes among politicians towards the problem 

Positive: Kate McCann at Downing St for the reception

"In the last few years there's been greater awareness and certainly there's been a greater political will," she said.


"We just need to keep spreading the message. It is a big problem, and we do need the Government's backing." 

The 116000 missing children hotline, which is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, is operated by specialist support groups in 16 European countries, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Holland and Poland.


Britain's official website to help find missing and abducted children - - has also been redesigned ahead of International Missing Children's Day on Friday. 

Home Secretary Theresa May hosted the reception in Number 10 for campaign groups, celebrity supporters and families of missing children.  

Meeting: Kate McCann (right) talks to the Duchess of Gloucester (left), Home Secretary Theresa May (2nd left) and chief executive of Missing People Martin Houghton-Brown

Also attending was Nicki Durbin, whose 19-year-old son Luke went missing after a night out with friends in Ipswich, Suffolk, in May 2006.


She said: "There's been a huge change in the last year, and more people are aware about all of our missing ones."


Two London cabs sporting advertisements for the newly-relaunched website were parked outside the front door of Number 10.


Another 300 black cabs will carry appeals for missing children inside for passengers to read, thanks to an idea by former taxi driver father Colin Outhwaite, father of ex-EastEnders star Tamzin. 

The heavily pregnant actress said: "It's an amazing idea. I couldn't believe no-one had ever thought of it before."  

Launch: Nicki Durbin (left), mother of missing Luke Durbin and Kate McCann outside a reception for missing people at Downing Street

The charity Missing People will operate the 116000 phone line in Britain, and specialist UK police agency the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) will run the website. 

Peter Davies, chief executive of Ceop, said: "Missing children have always been taken seriously by people. 

"I think this is a sign of a refreshed momentum within the police service, quite possibly within Government, and certainly within our partners, to get a series of better services provided to prevent children going missing, to find them more quickly if they do go missing, and to deal effectively with their return."


Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of Missing People, added: "Disappearances such as Madeleine McCann's tragically demonstrated the need for co-ordination across the world when a child goes missing. 

"116000 is introduced so that people can call when someone disappears regardless of which EU country they are in." 

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said vulnerable missing children need the best support possible. 

"Government has set a clear direction for this with our missing children and adults strategy, calling on local and national organisations to prevent, protect and provide support for missing children and their families," she said


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