Our mandate is to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia. Prevention avoids the traumas and costs that occur when people go missing.
Not all missing persons cases can be prevented. However community awareness of the risk factors that might lead to someone they know becoming a missing person, enables us to look for ways to help prevent those people from becoming missing persons. Preventative action can be taken at all levels within our community – by families, friends, organisations, government policy-makers, media, and missing people themselves.
Sometimes simple strategies, like letting someone know where we are going, work. At other times prevention means addressing complex circumstances that may have built up over a long time. In one in three cases, prevention means responding to the needs of someone who has been missing before.
The key to prevention is enhancing individual resilience and resourcefulness, strengthening family and community networks, and building the capacity of our organisations to contribute in a timely and effective way.
About half of the 38,000 people reported missing each year are unintentionally missing–meaning they’ve neglected to let someone know where they’re going and what they’re doing. This lack of communication can very easily lead to someone being reported missing.
How do we help prevent ourselves and others from being unintentionally missing?
- Let those who care about you know where you are going and if your plans change.
- Re-connect with family and friends if you’re out of contact.
- If a friend is in trouble, encourage them to seek support rather than just leave.
- Help others make contact–many missing people are found at friends’ houses.
- Remember, it’s not a crime to go missing. Police are involved in the location of missing persons because they are best placed to provide appropriate resources and want to ensure that you are safe and well.
Other risk factors
Research has revealed that there are three groups within the community most at risk of being reported as missing persons to police. Those are:
- People living with mental health issues
- Elderly persons, particularly those living with dementia.
One of the best methods of prevention is to provide those who are at risk of going missing with other options. The NMPCC actively looks to partner with a range of organisations to help implement preventative strategies which address each of the at risk groups.