Young people a focus for National Missing Persons Week

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

The Australian Federal Police and the Queensland Police Service today launch National Missing Persons Week for 2017, with a specific focus on the 25,000 young people reported missing to police each year across Australia.

More than 38,000 people are reported missing each year, with two thirds under the age of 18. While the majority of missing persons are found within a short period of time, there remain more than 2000 people who are listed as long-term missing persons; people who have been missing for more than three months.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said for every missing person there are family, friends and colleagues left behind, still waiting for them to come home.

“We could fill the GABBA today with the number of people reported missing to police in Australia every year,” Commissioner Colvin said.

“ … And for every missing person, there are families and friends left behind not knowing what has happened to someone they care deeply about.”

Young people may go missing for a range of reasons, including miscommunication, misadventure, or because of a misunderstanding. In some circumstances going missing may be seen as the only option to leave a bad situation, and in the most extreme of cases, a young person may have become a victim of crime.

Those aged between 13 and 17 are six times more likely to go missing than the rest of the Australian population.

Queensland Police Service Acting Deputy Commissioner (Specialist Operations) Tracy Linford said this year the focus through the campaign “Still waiting for you to come home” would be on the high number of youth that were reported missing each year.

“Today is the appropriate day to announce the QPS Snapchat capability where the demographics in Australia are largely in the 18 to 25-year-old age group so it enables us to send information and images to these people,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Linford said.

“It additionally broadens the current social media reach the Queensland Police Service has to further share information about missing people.

“On average, around 100 people are reported missing to police every week in Queensland. We as a police service do all we can to help families find their loved ones, so this is a logical extension to our already large reach in the social media sphere.”

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.

Going missing is not a crime. People reported missing and subsequently located by the police will not be charged. If you are a missing person, today might be the day where you let your family and friends know you are OK.

National Missing Persons Week is supported by Outdoor Media Association, Chemist Warehouse and McDonald’s Australia.

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

Queensland Police Media: (07) 3015 2444

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NOTE TO MEDIA:

Images of missing persons focus cases, campaign poster, and audio grabs from Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz and National Coordinator Missing Persons and Exploited Children Marina Simoncini can be accessed via below link.

https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/7S6Hj7dhMV/YWRyZW5hLmthcmltaUBhZnAuZ292LmF1

FOR BACKGROUND:

The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre of the AFP was established in 2006 to drive national coordination in the response to missing persons in Australia, and to complement the investigative roles of State and Territory police. Its mandate is to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia. More information can be found at www.missingpersons.gov.au.

SUPPORT SERVICES:

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

  • Kids Helpline
  • Lifeline
  • Beyondblue
  • Relationships Australia
  • Alzheimer’s Australia
  • SANE Australia
  • Headspace.
     

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