National Missing Persons Week runs from 2-8 August and aims to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia. Every year more than 35,000 people are reported missing across the country – with around 12,500 in NSW. This equates to one person disappearing every 15 minutes.
While the majority of people are located within a short period, there are approximately 650 long-term missing person cases in NSW. Research indicates for every person who goes missing, on average 12 people are affected in some way.
National Missing Persons Week serves as a reminder of the challenges families across the community face daily trying to find answers. We must look out for one another and identify signs that someone isn’t coping and recognise if behaviour is out of character – help is just a phone call away. If you have concerns for a family, friend, neighbour or colleague I urge you to follow your instincts and report to the police.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant stressed there is no minimum time frame to wait before contacting NSW Police with a missing persons report. “If you have fears for the welfare of a loved one I urge you to come forward so the NSW Police Force can assist as soon as possible,” Mr Grant said. “I thank the NSW Police Force who work tirelessly with communities across the State following leads and supporting and reuniting families.”
Attorney General Gabrielle Upton said friends and family members of those missing a loved one can get support from the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit (FFMPU). “Friends and families do not need to suffer alone during what can be a very distressing, confusing and emotional time,” Ms Upton said. “The unit does an incredible job supporting families and friends as they deal with the challenges of not knowing what has happened to a missing loved one.”
The FFMPU is part of the Department of Justice and is the only service in Australia to provide specialist counselling and support for missing a loved one.
For more information on National Missing Persons Week go to: www.missingpersons.gov.au To find out about the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit go to www.missingpersons.justice.nsw.gov.au