Bob and Sue Neville are two of the thousands of people who have been supported by the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit (FFMPU) since it started 15 years ago.
On Thursday 24 September 2015, FFMPU celebrated its 15 year anniversary with an event held at Parliament House. To mark this achievement, the FFMPU 'Tree of Life' Message Board was launched in front of guests that included the NSW Attorney General, service providers and family members and friends of missing people.
Two of the attendees were Bob and Sue Neville who shared their moving story about their son Bobby who has been missing since 30 September 2008. He left the house one morning for a walk and has not been seen since. Bob and Sue have not lost hope that one day they will be reunited with their son. During this difficult time they found solace in FFMPU's support groups, which enable families to form connections with people who have a shared experience.
With more than 35,000 people reported missing in Australia each year, Bob and Sue's poignant story is one of many. Since it began operating 15 years ago, FFMPU has supported more than 2,500 individuals and families across the country and overseas. As the only specialised unit of its kind in Australia, it not only provides emotional and practical support to people of all ages affected by the loss of a missing loved one, but it also raises awareness of missing persons issues in the community. FFMPU is not a search agency, but rather works collaboratively with government agencies, such as state and federal police, and non-government search agencies such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
In NSW approximately 12,500 people are reported missing in Australia each year. The majority of missing people return or are located within a short space of time, however, a small percentage, one to two per cent, remain missing. In NSW there are approximately 650 long-term missing people. Research indicates that for every person who goes missing, on average 12 people are affected in some way. If you or someone you know can benefit from FFMPU's support please contact the Unit.
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View photo slideshow of the event: