Connections key to reducing incidence and impact of missing persons

This is a joint media release issued by the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.

Police are urging families, friends, colleagues, and communities across Australia to stay connected this National Missing Persons Week (31 July – 6 August), which launched today in Melbourne to draw attention to people in our community who are still missing.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP), through its National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, has partnered with Victoria Police for this year’s campaign; Missing people leave frayed edges—Stay connected. With more than 35,000 people in Australian reported as missing each year, the campaign aims to draw attention to those still missing, as well as highlight support services available for their family and friends.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the issue of missing persons in Australia impacts the wider community.

“We could fill the MCG more than four times over with loved ones left behind in these heartbreaking circumstances,” Commissioner Colvin said.

“The reasons for a person’s disappearance are many and varied; but we do know that with every missing person, there are families, friends, colleagues, and a community left behind not knowing what has become of someone they love.
“We’re asking communities across Australia to make a conscious effort—this week and every week—to stay connected with those around them.”

Victoria Police has been working with the State’s Department of Justice and Regulation (DoJR) to further enhance support services within the community. Deputy Commissioner Wendy Steendam said these services were available to assist those at risk of going missing, and to family and friends of missing persons.

“We currently have several sites across the state at which DoJR have embedded victim support workers from the Victims Assistance and Counselling program,” DC Steendam said.

“These workers provide support for families and friends, while our members thoroughly investigate their cases.

“Our Missing Persons Unit is also establishing a new webpage, dedicated to not only publicising missing persons cases, but also providing information for the families and friends of missing people to assist them in dealing with the situation.

“We want to make sure that the families of missing people are well supported in what is a very traumatic and distressing time.”

As part of the national campaign, police are also reminding the public there is no need to wait 24 hours to report someone missing. A report can be made as soon as there are fears for the person’s welfare and safety, and their whereabouts are unknown.

National Missing Persons Week is supported by Chemist Warehouse, McDonalds, Foxtel and the Outdoor Media Association.

To view Australia’s national register of missing persons, visit the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre website at www.missingpersons.gov.au, where information about support services across Australia can also be found.

Anyone with information relating to a missing person is urged to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333
Victoria Police (03) 9247 5205

***NOTE TO MEDIA - For images of Sally Cheong from the national focus case, please contact AFP National Media.

 

FOR BACKGROUND:

The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre was established to complement the operational and investigative roles of the State and Territory police missing persons units. Its mandate is to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia. This is achieved through national profiling of long-term missing persons, outreach and prevention campaigns, and driving national coordination in the missing persons sector.
 

SUPPORT SERVICES:

A range of support services exist in our community where people can go to for help, including:

  • Lifeline
  • Beyondblue
  • Relationships Australia
  • Alzheimer’s Australia
  • SANE Australia
  • Headspace
     

MISSING PERSONS MEMORIALS IN AUSTRALIA:

For families and friends of missing persons seeking to commemorate National Missing Persons Week, there are several places of quiet reflection and remembrance which are dedicated to the memories of missing people:

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.