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What is the Philomena Protocol?

The Philomena Protocol is a national scheme that encourages agencies, carers, guardians, families and friends to record vital information which can be used in the event of a vulnerable child or young person going missing.

The information recorded the Philomena Protocol form (which you can download below) includes: 

  • a physical description
  • who their friends are
  • a recent photograph
  • whether they've gone missing before

When to fill in the form

Part one of form should be completed as soon as possible for all children and young people in residential care. We encourage carers, guardians and parents, to complete this form with as much detail as possible, then keep it somewhere safe – along with a recent photo.  The form needs to be regularly updated with new information on description, friends, associates, locations frequented, phone numbers and identifiers to maximise the opportunity for the child or young person to be found swiftly and safely.

You should only fill in part two of the form if the child or young person actually goes missing. Part two includes things like what the child or young person was wearing at the time and where they were last seen.

When should the form be given to the police?

We will only ask for the form if the child or young person has been reported missing. We will ask you to email the forms to us. 

Where should the form be kept?

Keep the form electronically and safely, in a place where you can find them quickly. The forms may need to be located quickly, at any time of day or night, by the person who needs the information to begin the initial searches.

What if a young person goes missing?

If you discover a child or young person missing, you should take steps to try and find them immediately. 

For example:

  • Call the child or young person’s mobile phone.
  • Contact their family and friends to see if they have seen the child or young person.
  • Check locations the child or young person was last seen or may expected to be.
  • Check any places that the child or young person is known to frequent.
  • Allow the child or young person a reasonable period to return of their own accord.

If the child or young person still cannot be located you should call 101 to report them missing and tell the call handler that you have a Philomena Protocol form.

Where there is an immediate risk to the child or young person’s safety, you should dial 999 immediately. 

Philomena Protocol Form