Can you go to jail for not reporting a missing child?

No one is missing, I just wanted to know. If a teen or something were to go missing for more than a week but the parents wanted to look for them themselves without police help, could they be jailed for it if they found out? It just sounds like something my family would do, since they dont call the police for anything..


Most Helpful Guy

  • I'm not sure if you would go to jail but you'd most likely be fined because the court could view this as a failure to render assistance. It's similar to medical assistance: if you see somebody lying on the street and he/she is obviously injured or in great discomfort, you are obligated to provide first aid or - if you don't know how to do that - call at least an ambulance. If you don't do that, you can get punished quite severely.
    However, even if you'd not be punished for not reporting a missing person, it is certainly very unethical in my eyes. We have a police so they deal with these kind of things. These people are professionally educated and trained and know what to do (and have the financial means to do certain things that normal people can't). There's nothing wrong with reporting a missing person and keep looking yourself on the side. But simply not reporting is a very irresponsible act, especially if it's a missing child. Firstly, because it is extremely unlikely that normal people such as your parents could find a child again if it really was abducted without help from the police. Secondly, the chances of survival of an abducted child decrease dramatically within the first three days of its abduction. 72 hours after an abduction, there's only a 5% chance that your child is still alive (statistically). This means that you have to react very fast. For non-trained amateurs it is very difficult (if not impossible) to react appropriately with this kind of time-pressure. In other words: people who wouldn't report a potentially abducted child would risk the child's death simply because of some stupid personal pride or political conviction.


Most Helpful Girl

  • no you can't.


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What Guys Said 1

  • If its been over 24 hours then yes they will go to jail.


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