Unfortunately children go missing in the Netherlands every day. Almost all of these children are found alive within a short or longer period of time. These are mostly children that run away from home. Of course, in all these cases there is a risk that the children come into contact with people with ill intentions.
A few times a year however, there are missing children cases in which the child runs a much greater risk. For instance when a child has been abducted by a stranger, or when a very small child is lost and starts wandering in a dangerous area.
The AMBER Alert system was developed for these special cases.
The AMBER Alert criteria
- The missing child has to be younger than 18 years¹;
- The life of the child is in imminent danger, or there is fear he/ she will be seriously injured²;
- There is enough information about the victim to increase the chance of the child being found by means of an AMBER Alert, such as a photo, information about the abductor or a vehicle used;
- The AMBER Alert is issued as soon as possible after the abduction or disappearance of the child.
¹ When a person aged 18 or older goes missing, AMBER Alert is not used, even when the level of functioning of the missing person is below 18 years.
² The Netherlands Police Agency should have indications that the child’s life is in imminent danger, or there should be concern the child might be seriously injured. Although in any child disappearance, the child runs risks, this is not sufficient ground for an AMBER Alert.
The criteria for an AMBER Alert are not met if a parent abducts his/her child with the intent to withdraw it from legal custody and the parent does not pose a direct threat to the child’s life or does not intend to seriously injure the child physically or mentally.