Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (609)

John McGuinness

Question:

609. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a phone service (details supplied) is funded by the Government and if so, if she will confirm the amount granted in the past three years; the extent of the marketing campaign to promote the phone service number and the way that campaign is funded; the number of calls received by the phone service since it was established; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31710/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The 116000 Missing Children Hotline is operated by the ISPCC in liaison with a cross-sectoral Project Team, chaired by the DCYA.

The ISPCC has been successful in securing EU Daphne funding of €141,422 to support the establishment of the line. The ISPCC also submitted an application for funding to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to cover the establishment and running of the Hotline. This application has been approved for 2012 (€50,240) and 2013 (€87,631). Future applications for running costs will be considered in the context of the annual budget estimates process.

The funding received from both the EU Daphne fund and from DCYA includes the establishment costs and the national promotion and advertisement of this Hotline service.

The promotion of the Hotline has been ongoing since the service opened in 2012. There have been numerous press releases issued by the DCYA and the ISPCC, the 116 000 Missing Children Hotline has been covered in the print (9 articles) and broadcast (6 radio stations) media since opening in May 2012. There has also been an ongoing website and social media presence utilising ISPCC, Facebook and Twitter to highlight the service as well as information on missing children. The 116000 Missing Children Hotline website (www.missingchildrenhotline.ie) was launched on the 5th of June 2013, the day of the official launch of the service.

ISPCC staff and volunteers have worked to disseminate posters in local areas and posters have been distributed nationally to Garda stations.

The ISPCC will now escalate the promotion of this service, which will include promotion in schools. The Project Team will be kept informed on an on-going basis of the ISPCC's plans and activities related to awareness raising.

The Missing Children Hotline has been operating on a full-time basis since end April, 2013. Reliable data on calls is not available prior to this point. The ISPCC will submit quarterly activity data to my Department, which will include information on the number of calls received by the service. It is expected that data on calls to the service since its establishment on a full-time basis will be available in the next quarter, and henceforth on a quarterly basis.