The Bahamas launches child abduction alert system

The Bahamas started a pilot child abduction alert program in July 2018, similar to the U.S. AMBER Alert. The country is calling the notifications “Marco’s Alert,” after 11-year-old Marco Archer who disappeared and was later found dead in 2011. The public has to opt-in to receive the alert but police can decide if the situation is so critical that a message will be sent to everyone regardless of opting in. The alerts can be sent by phone, email, pager, fax, computer pop up screens and social media.

Silver Alert is tested in Canadian cities

Police in several Canadian cities tested a Silver Alert, a notification that would go out to a specific area when a senior citizen goes missing. Residents can opt-in to receive the alerts which are aimed at helping find lost seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Police teamed up with health and social services workers and volunteers during a day-long training exercise to test the new Silver Alert system.

Canada institutes new passport rules to protect children

Canada has instituted changes to passport rules to protect children under the age of 16. The Canadian immigration minister can now issue a passport without application; and can refuse to issue or can revoke a passport to protect the child’s safety. A child can now also apply for a travel document to escape abuse under the new rules.

Australia considers an alert system to locate dementia patients

An Australian scholar is urging the government to create a public notification system similar to Silver Alerts used in the U.S. to help find lost people with dementia. Dr. Margie MacAndrew conducted a study about missing persons with dementia. “Wandering can result in potentially life-threatening outcomes such as malnutrition, increased risk of falls, injury, exhaustion, hypothermia, becoming lost, and death,” she said. “Rapid reporting within one hour of knowing a person is missing is also known to help search and rescue have a better chance of finding a person alive and well.

Luxembourg’s first AMBER Alert is successful in finding boy

Luxembourg issued its first AMBER Alert on June 26, 2018, for a seven-year-old boy who was forcefully abducted by his father. Law enforcement believed the father to be dangerous based on a mental disorder. The alert was sent to the media, social media, billboards and traffic boards. Police were able to find the father and child in France. The boy was returned to his mother and the father was extradited back to Luxembourg to face criminal charges.

AMBER Alert Europe representatives visit France to reinforce efforts to find missing children

AMBER Alert Europe officials visited the French Judicial Police headquarters on June 25, 2018, to gain a better understanding of the development of France’s missing child system. The meeting was also used to enhance cooperation between AMBER Alert Europe and the French specialized missing persons police unit. France was the first country to have a missing child notification system that disseminates information to TV, radio, highway signs, railway stations, social media and websites. The ‘Alerte Enlèvement’ has been used 22 times in France and has resulted in the successfully recovery of all missing children for which the alerts were issued.