Croatian Missing Children System Activated For First Time

Lauren Simmonds

croatian missing children

February the 12th, 2024 – The Croatian missing children system, designed for the most serious and concerning cases, has now been activated for the first time.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian missing children system, more specifically the NENO alarm, was activated for the first time due to the disappearance of a young girl recently. This system is intended for the search for minor children. The notification reached many via social media, and thankfully, everything ended well.

When a minor girl disappeared in the Zagreb area a few days ago, the police activated the Croatian missing children system for the very first time in search of her. Many people received notifications about the disappearance of the fourteen-year-old girl on their Facebook and Instagram profiles.

What is Croatia’s NENO alarm?

NENO is the abbreviation for the National Register of Missing Persons, and the alarm is activated only for those who have social media accounts.

“The police directorate can act according to what Meta allows sending social media users information, that is, a photo of the child, with the consent of their parents. This information is then distributed through social media, and then if someone has any information, they will immediately have a mechanism to report it,” explained information security expert Alen Delić.

Social media is certainly a useful ally in the search for missing persons in general, because information posted online reaches a large number of people in a very short time.

Last year, there were as many as 2,374 searches for children who had run away from their care givers in institutions or from their parents’ houses, which is an increase compared to the year before, when there were 1,535 such cases, Dnevnik Nova TV reported.

Users of Facebook and Instagram receive a warning in the form of a notification with a brief description of the case. Those social media users are people located within a radius of 160 kilometres from the place of the child’s disappearance, but this occurs only in the case of high-risk or long-term disappearances, when it concerns persons under the age of eighteen and when there is danger to life and health or exposure to severe victimisation.

The Osijek Centre for Missing and Abused Children has been fighting for the introduction of a more comprehensive Amber Alert system for more than a decade now.

“They send out a notification from the motorways, radio and TV programmes are interrupted, a notification is sent out to airports and stations through an SMS notification centre as well. Political will is needed here, as is the commitment of the system, above all – the Interior Ministry,” said Tomislav Ramljak from the Centre for Missing and Abused Children in Osijek.

A very similar system for missing children was launched in Serbia a few months ago.

“We had one test launch. For now, fortunately, we haven’t needed to start that system, but we’re working on improving it. What we as a country will do is test the system every six months. It’s very important for this system to come to life throughout the entire region,” said Igor Jurić from the Centre for Missing and Abused Children in Serbia.


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