Navigation path

Child alert mechanism

The child alert mechanism aims to alert the public in cases of child abduction and where the life of a child is at risk.


This mechanism alerts the public by disseminating relevant information in the hours after the disappearance of a child.
All possible electronic means are used:

  • e-mails ;
  • SMS ;
  • electronic advertising displays ;
  • illuminated signs on highways ;
  • flash information on radio and television.

Child alert systems are set up in the event of worrying disappearances and criminal abduction.

Improving the early warning system

The Commission's objective is that an early warning system for child abductions, with cross-border interoperability, be established in all 28 EU countries.

This way, resolving cross-border cases, especially where the abduction or disappearance has happened close to the border with another EU country, will be easier. The conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Councilpdf [106 KB] (27-28 November 2008) went in this direction and invited EU countries:

  • to establish and develop national mechanisms to alert the public in the event of criminal abductions of children;
  • to define the national implementing arrangements ensuring that cross-border alerts are triggered.

These arrangements should be introduced on the basis of the best practices developed by the Commissionpdf Choose translations of the previous link  [38 KB] .

State of play

Currently, a child alert system is in place in 16 EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands,Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Justice on Twitter