Recommends To The Government To Create A National Alert System And Missing Children Protection

Original Language Title: Recomenda ao Governo que proceda à criação de um Sistema Nacional de Alerta e Protecção de Crianças Desaparecidas

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Partido Popular Party CDS-PP Parliamentary Group Assembly of the Republic-Palace of Saint Benedict-1249-068 Lisboa-Phone: 21 391 9233-Fax: 21 391 7456 Email: DRAFT RESOLUTION No. 347/X Recommends the Government to create a National Alert System and protection of missing children.

Explanatory statement: not, unfortunately, a recent phenomenon, the disappearance of children and young people, with or without criminal motivation, has taken on increasing importance in Western societies.

The intense work of complaint and warning of non-governmental organizations; the constant exposure and interest the media has dedicated to these cases; and the globalization of sexual crime, put these tragedies on the agenda with enormous impact and social alarm.

It should be noted that, in the absence of a causal link required between the 2 missing children and sexual abuse or trafficking, these realities are often linked and must be addressed in an integrated manner.

The CDS-PP is not unaware of the different causes that contribute to these disappearances, or the different nature that may take. We must consider, even, at the initiative of the child or young person's escape from home. But this leak, for your time, you can put the less at the mercy of a kidnapping or sex crime.

And this diversity can and should be measured at the level of criminal sanctions regime typology but, above all, in the search for solutions and prevention. The top objective will always prevent the disappearance of a child or a young person.

The same applies in respect of children or young people with mental disabilities, lost or diverted from your path.

But faced with a disappearance, and whatever your cause, motivation or condition, there is an immediate objective: retrieve the smallest in the best physical and psychological conditions possible.

And the success of this rescue depends on, always, a common point: the need for the State to own rapid intervention mechanisms that permit, regardless of cause, the rapid location of a child or young person who has been reported missing.

3 whether it's a family vendetta impulsively, whether we are dealing with a case of sex trafficking, practiced by transnational networks, highly sophisticated and dangerously violent means used in the Act, the rapid and effective intervention is crucial.

According to the judicial police, a "disappearance" is not a crime, so whenever there is a founded suspicion that such a situation is a result of a criminal act, the case is classified according to the presumed crime committed and such under investigated. And not a disappearance a crime, is not obviously subject to the time limits of the criminal law, so until it is resolved definitively, any investigation of disappearance can be worked, regardless of the time elapsed since the event, and correct the statement that "one never missing files".

Faced with this uncertainty about the specific procedure to be adopted, the speed is crucial to a happy outcome while every minute can be a lost opportunity.

Accordingly, many countries have created their missing child alert systems. For example, the Amber Alert systems (USA), Child Focus (Belgium), SOS Enfants Disparus (France) or Missing Children (United Kingdom). Portugal has, thanks to the child support Institute (IAC), the toll-free number 1410, which works 24 hours a day, in order to report a missing person or an abuse. 4 very recently and also thanks to the IAC, we have to work the European number for missing children – 116000.

But, in the opinion of the CDS-PP there is still much more to do.

The Schengen area and the successive enlargement this area of free movement of persons constitutes one of the essential pillars of the European construction project, but also increases the risk of missing easy and immediate to other countries. Increases the need for immediate intervention to lose track of the victim forever.

By your geographical location and your integration into the Schengen area, Portugal is considered an internationally a Country permeable to abductions and sex trafficking of children and young people.

In fact, also the European Commission defends not only the urgency in setting up national alert systems in the countries of the European Union, and the need of your networking to exchange between different countries, data of the disappearances occurred.

A parent is so much more hospitable to criminals, the smaller the network and alert your immediate intervention.

As the first hours after the disappearance are crucial to the (in) success in the recovery of the child or young person, it is urgent that Portugal create also your national alert system and to carry out protocols of cooperation with civil society and other 5 countries.

The usefulness of a warning system is greater the more extended is the alert network, information and action in which it is inserted, being essential to technological compatibility between the various communication systems not only within the country itself, and between the various countries.

In most countries with effective warning systems has been proven that your existence, to disseminate the most authorized data by police forces, works as a deterrent of raptor/abuser because this you know you're going to have an unlimited number of people aware of and that your capture is more likely. Moreover, there is evidence that the number of children recovered is quite higher in countries with system alert. For example, in the USA, the Amber Alert system has already helped to save the lives of more than 350 children, since your inception in 1996.

For the system to be effective and to ensure that their resources are not consumed, matter readily qualify the type of disappearance. To this end, it is important to use some standard criteria, according to the internationally defined, notably in the systems listed above.

Thus, it is important to find and identify a set of decisive criteria in the assessment, qualification, treatment, collection and dissemination of information that recommends, inter alia: 6  the existence of legal evidence of a finding that a kidnapping;

 the probability that the child to be at risk of injury or death;

 the existence of enough descriptive information about the child, the alleged abductor or your vehicle, so that you can launch the alert;

 that the person have up to 17 years or older than, since particularly defenceless on account of physical or psychic impairment;

 the alert system be disclosed in all police forces. This information shall state the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the child.

In these terms, and therefore, the Assembly of the Republic, in accordance with point (b)) of article 156 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, decides to recommend to the Government that: the creation of a National System of alert and missing Child Protection that works in network with other European Union countries and the world.

Through, in particular:  7 the elaboration of a national plan for the collection, treatment and dissemination of information concerning minors which affect strong indications they have been victim of kidnapping;

 the Organization, through the judicial police, an informative and up-to-date database on missing children, available on a website and that results in a common and specific system that works in the network between the judicial police, the Public Security Police, the National Republican Guard and the service of foreigners and borders;

 The immediate issue, in cases where justified, missing children alert issued in real time via radio and television, using the State channels to spread the alert, and promoting the realization of agreements with private stations to join this program;

 the possibility of issuing alerts via wireless and internet systems, by establishing partnerships with specialty companies, in order to be issued alerts of disappearances in podcast system and on the internet through Windows pop up in the most-visited sites;

 The establishment of an Advisory Board at the national level, with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of public works, transport and communications and the National Commission for Data Protection; 8  the creation of a dedicated Support to the families of the victims; and  the consecration the mandatory Advisory Council and the Support Mission are in permanent contact with intersection of information, relevant to the complementarity of their work.

São Bento Palace, June 2 2008.