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Twenty years of support for families of missing people

Publication date: Monday, 3 August 2020

This year the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit, which is run by Victims Services, will recognise its 20th anniversary.

Since it was established in 2000, the Unit has provided support for family members who are faced with the unfamiliar and overwhelming task of living with a missing loved one. 

Commissioner of Victims Rights, Michelle Vaughan, said the team is committed to improving the knowledge and understanding of issues related to missing people, and increasing awareness of the experience and impact on those who have been left behind. 

“Over the past two decades, the service has helped hundreds of people as they come to terms with the challenge of living with ‘not knowing’ what has happened to their loved one,” Michelle says. 

“Thankfully, the majority of missing persons are located almost immediately. However, around one per cent go onto become long term missing persons.”

As of June 2020, NSW Police reported there have been a total of 3,430 reports of missing persons, with 62 outstanding. 

“While the initial search is often the part of the journey that is most reported, it is a subject people rarely talk about which is where we step in,” Michelle explains.

“While we do not search for people, we work collaboratively with agencies like police to provide services to address the trauma and loss associated with having a loved one go missing.  

“It can have a devastating impact on the person’s family and friends, which is why staff within Victims Services are committed to helping them cope with the unknown.”

National Missing Persons Week is being held from 2-8 August this year.

To find out more about National Missing Persons Week and to view the National Public Register of missing people, please visit www.missingpersons.gov.au

If you have information regarding a missing person, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.