Calling 116 000, the Europe-wide hotline number for missing children and children in distress

Last updated more than 5 years ago

The 116 000 hotline number is a European-wide emergency telephone number for obtaining assistance throughout the European Union (EU). This number is operational in 19 EU countries, and when dialled, reaches the local authorities in charge of missing children.

The 116 000 hotline is reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be called free of charge.

Through this single European number, Luxembourgish travellers abroad and foreigners travelling in Luxembourg can easily contact the competent authorities if a child goes missing.

In Luxembourg, anyone calling 116 000 reaches the National Office for Children (Office national de l'enfance - ONE) during business hours, or the Grand-Ducal Police at night, on weekends, and on holidays.

The hotline number is for families of children who have gone missing or are in distress. They dial the hotline in case of:

  • runaways;
  • parental kidnappings, in Luxembourg or abroad;
  • suspicious disappearances of minors or young adults.

 Support is provided for as long as the family expresses the need.

The 116 000 number is also available to young people in situations of psychological and/or social distress. The service may offer them help if they have run away from home, or support to help prevent them from doing so.

The 116 000 hotline thus plays a role in preventing disappearances, by providing advice to parents, offering mediation between parents and children, and being available to listen to children and young people in situations of psychological and/or social distress.

The 116 000 service answers calls in the 3 national languages (Luxembourgish, French, and German), as well as in English. The team is composed of psychologists, social workers, and educationalists trained to help people in need.

Immediate help is provided in emergency cases, by transferring the call to a specialist. Following protocol, all witness accounts are immediately transferred to the competent police department.

The role of a 1160 000 specialist is as follows:

  • first, to carefully go over the situation with the parents, to make sure they have all important information in their possession;
  • to ask the parents to contact the  Grand-Ducal Police to report the disappearance, if they have not yet done so;
  • second, and depending on what the parents have already done, advise them on their search to make sure no stone is left unturned;
  • to contact the Grand-Ducal Police to apprise them of the situation and make sure that police investigators have all information relevant to the investigation and search methods to be used (the child's state of mind at the time of the disappearance, any illnesses, etc.);
  • if the parents express a need, to guide them to an organisation that can provide psychological support.

The specialist stays in contact with the family and regularly obtains information on the investigation's progress until the child's return. Monitoring the disappearance may involve contacting various parties, including the public prosecutor's office, social workers, and educators, depending on what is needed.

A website is also available.

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