Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit

Call or txt the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Volunteer profile: Holly

This blog post was written by Holly Christie, Archivist Volunteer at Missing People

This week is my one-year anniversary as a volunteer at Missing People, it’s been a fantastic year and I feel that I have achieved so much and made an impact, even in my small way.
Last April I signed up to become a volunteer Archivist for Missing People. My day job doesn’t really have many clean cut starts and ends, work is always ongoing. I liked the idea of volunteering my time on something that is completely different to what I do every day. Archiving gives me a sense of satisfaction when after my four hour shift I have a pile of cases that have been completed and I can now shred. Job done!

What does an Archivist Volunteer do?
Missing People have thousands of missing people cases still on paper files that need to be checked, summarised and logged onto their electronic database. They’re about 25% of the way through the case load, but they always need more Archivists to help complete this enormous task.

My role is to check the work of the Junior Archivists, categorise the files and then the delightful task of shredding them at the end of my shift.
“Ergh dull” you might think, but there is something immensely satisfying seeing a pile of 30 cases at the end of your four-hour shift that can now be shredded.
I know that at the end of my shift that the chances are I’m the last person to see that case and know about that missing person, puts your life into perspective.

My year
I recently received my Pink Star Award from Missing People for volunteer over 100 hours for Missing People. On average I do 30 cases in a four-hour shift, I’ve now archived around 787 cases already this year!
I’m looking forward to another year of volunteer with Missing People, spending my Wednesday evenings with their amazing volunteers and friendly staff.

I would recommend you do too!

Find out more about volunteering at Missing People here 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Henry’s Heroes: Barbara Robinson

This content first appeared on RH Uncovered and is reproduced with permission

This month, our MP Henry Smith has nominated Crawley resident (and hardworking volunteer) Barbara Robinson to be his latest community hero.

Sixty-nine year old Barbara, who is a retired teacher, has spent many years giving her time to help local organisations such as Crawley’s Citizens Advice Bureau, Missing People, Crawley Town FC and even being a foster mum for Canine Partners, making her one of Crawley’s most active volunteers.

“In my working life as a teacher, I was always having to problem solve and be empathetic towards my students. When I retired I wanted to continue to use my brain, problem solve and be proactive and the roles I fulfil now enable me to do that,” Barbara explains.

She now advises those in need of help and support at the town’s busy Citizens Advice Bureau, helps to find missing people and promote the charity (of the same name) across Surrey and Sussex, takes in and cares for dogs who are currently in training with Canine Partners to help those with disabilities, and most recently; played a pivotal role in creating the Crawley Town Disabled Supporters’ Association.

It’s volunteering for the association that Barbara has especially shone and improved the match day experience for many Crawley Town fans, with sight problems, thanks to the introduction of audio description at the stadium.

“I’m very proud to have been instrumental in getting audio description at the football club for those with sight problems up and running,” she says. “As a result five fans who had given up on enjoying a match because they couldn’t follow the action now thoroughly enjoy the games!”

So, what does this community hero enjoy so much about volunteering?

“I meet a variety of people in the various roles I do – I get a buzz out of being able to make a difference to someone,” she told us.

Henry says: “I am delighted to nominate Barbara for her continuing dedicated work for our community.”

“She has worked tirelessly for Missing People, working to help those who have suffered the trauma of not knowing the whereabouts of a friend or loved one. Barbara has also sought to encourage others to help by representing the organisation at a volunteering showcase.”

“Her work in setting up the Crawley Town Disabled Supporters Association has ensured that fans with sight problems can enjoy the full match day experience thanks to the audio description service now run at Crawley Town.”

“Barbara’s work, which also includes helping at the Citizens Advice Bureau and Canine Partners, helps people across Crawley and further afield – I would like to thank her for her service.”

Monday, 8 February 2016

NCVO A Day in the Life

This blog post was written by Lucy Holmes, Research Manager at Missing People

The NCVO A Day in the Life work-shadowing scheme enables civil servants and staff from the charity sector to spend a day with one another. My aim in taking part was to learn about how the Home Office works – its structures, teams, hierarchies, roles, priorities, culture and staff.

In December, my partner came to spend a day with us here at Missing People. She came with a host of questions about what it’s like to work for a charity, as well as wanting to learn all about our services and the people we work with. I arranged for her to spend time with colleagues who work on the helpline, as well as colleagues who deal with the media, policy campaigning, partnerships and development, and information and evaluation. After visiting us for the day, my Day in the Life buddy returned to the Home Office and gave a presentation to her colleagues about her day with us. She also shared her thoughts with me:

“I greatly enjoyed what was a very informative and interesting visit at Missing People. The passion, dedication and commitment to the issue of missing people were obvious in everyone I met. It was fascinating to learn of all the added work Missing People is doing around the issue – understanding the reasons, prevention of harm, and what happens after a person returns, for example. The work the charity is doing is really great, and I was privileged to be able to catch a glimpse of it.”

Yesterday came my turn to step into my partner’s shoes for the day. After an unfamiliar commute into central London I joined the queue to get through security, showed my ID and was issued with a visitor pass. My partner came down to collect me and showed me up to her unit.

The first thing to hit me was the sheer scale of the building. It’s imposing, yes, but not intimidating. I liked that there are lots of places for people to sit on comfortable chairs – with a laptop, with a coffee – and get on with some work or an informal meeting. Being tied to a desk and screen all day isn’t necessarily the best way to get work done.

My partner explained the project she’s currently working on, and showed me the complexity of her work. One thing she’s working on is a clause-by-clause commentary of a new piece of legislation. It’s detailed and difficult work, but so important to make sure that new laws are understandable to lay people – not just lawyers!

I spent most of the day meeting key people in her work group, which me an overview of the work they do. I was struck by how committed everyone was. Some of them work in policy areas that are deeply harrowing, but they all expressed their desire to do a good job and to make a difference.

Here at Missing People we have a relatively small team (compared to many charities, let alone the civil service!) and that means that each of us can see the impact we make. In the Home Office, each member of staff is a cog in a massive machine, but the people I met all know that their contribution is essential. I was struck by how adaptable they all are – their roles and tasks can change regularly and they have to be ready to hit the ground running.

Spending a day in another sector has made me hugely grateful for the things I value about working here. We’re passionate, nimble and energetic and we have a very positive culture of supporting one another. I feel privileged to work in a role that allows me to hear directly from the people we work with – from family members with a missing relative, from young people and adults in crisis, and from police officers working to find missing people. I am also very grateful for my short cycle commute, much nicer than the tube!

I would highly recommend others in either the charity sector or civil service give this scheme a try. I learned a lot that will help me in my role, and felt I got a true insight into the day to day working life of government.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Keeping missing people safe

This blog post has been written by Susannah Drury, Director of Policy, Research and Development at Missing People. 

Paige Chivers was 15 when her mum died. Paige struggled to cope with her grief, on top of her troubled home life.  Excluded from school, and without the right professional support, Paige started to go missing regularly.  Following an argument with her dad about money, she went missing for the last time. Tragically, she would never return.  Paige had run away to be with a man in his 50s who has been accused of sexually exploiting her and who went on to murder her.

Paige’s story is heart-breaking. It’s heart-breaking because she wasn’t getting  the help she needed to stop going missing and get her life back on track. It’s heart-breaking because Paige felt she had nowhere to turn to except for the man who went on to kill her. It’s heart-breaking because it could happen to another vulnerable child.

There’s a huge number of reasons why a person might go missing, but what links them all is their vulnerability. Whether it’s a scared 13 year old boy going missing because he’s being controlled by a gang who use him to transport drugs; or a middle aged man in mental health crisis disappearing because he feels he has no other options; or a woman fleeing domestic violence. Recent data from the National Crime Agency  shows that shockingly, at least 35 missing people a day come to harm, and tragically, over a thousand people die while missing each year.

It’s the responsibility of all of us to keep these vulnerable children and adults safe. We need to do more to find them and get them the help they need. We must also do more to prevent people going missing in the first place.

Police across the country play a vital and difficult role in finding missing people and making them safe. The police are the right people to do this job. Police officers have the skills and powers needed to search, they are able to draw links between a range of information and intelligence and they have a clear duty to protect vulnerable people. 

As HMIC’s recent report into policing vulnerable people states: “The primary purpose of the police is to prevent crime and disorder and to protect people…The extent to which a police force is successful at identifying, protecting and supporting those who are vulnerable is therefore a core indicator of its overall effectiveness.” 

HMIC’s report found that some forces are doing better than others in protecting vulnerable missing children – and that many forces should improve their risk assessment processes, and how they gather and share information. These improvements must be a priority if we are going to prevent vulnerable people coming to serious harm. 

It’s clear though that the police can’t do the job alone. As the number of missing person reports increases (to 315,0000 nationally in 2014/15, compared to 307,000 in 2013/14), Chief Constables across the country are starting to highlight the pressures they face in responding – especially when people go missing repeatedly. These Chief Constables agree that it is vital to find and protect these vulnerable people, but are calling on other agencies to do more.

The charity Missing People works with every police force to publicise missing people, and get the public to join the search. Last year, we worked with the police to launch over 1,000 publicity appeals, with the vast majority of those people found safe. On the police’s request, we also reach out by text message directly to thousands of vulnerable missing people each year to tell them about our free, confidential helpline 116 000, and we know many of them do go on to call us and get the help they need. With additional resources, the charity could do even more to help find missing people and make them safe. 

Gwent in Wales has developed a brilliant approach to responding to missing children, involving all the agencies who have a support and safeguarding role. They have set up a Missing Children’s Hub where the police, social services, health services, education and local support charities work together. The Hub receives every missing report, the multi-agency team pool their information about the missing person and decide together on the best response to finding them and how to support them when they return. Their results are impressive- they have managed to reduce the number of children who go missing repeatedly, and have also uncovered a significant number of children who are at risk of sexual exploitation and need protection. This multi-agency approach where agencies work together with clear, complementary roles is an important way of ensuring missing children and adults stay safe and get the right support. 

When someone comes back from being missing, it’s not the end of the story. They need help to tackle whatever problems caused them to go missing in the first place, and to deal with any trauma they faced while missing. If these problems aren’t resolved, they may go missing again. That’s why Missing People provides return home interviews and follow-up support to help people break the cycle of going missing. Recent research into return home interviews and support provided by Missing People and other charities found that for every £1 invested, £5 of social value is returned – as these services reduce risk, increase safety and improve young people’s future prospects. However, availability of return home interviews for children across the country is patchy, and for adults is almost non-existent. This must change – which is why Missing People is campaigning for every child and adult to be offered an independent return home interview.

We need to do much more to prevent people going missing. Worryingly, only one in 20 missing children ask for help from professionals while they are missing. If we are going to prevent more tragedies, like the murder of Paige Chivers, we need young people to know how to reach out to stay safe. This is why Missing People has recently launched a new Runaway Helpline website, full of information and advice for young people who are thinking about running away, or who are missing.

There’s so much we can do – and we must do - to protect vulnerable missing people. We need to educate children about the risks of being missing and how they can get help before they reach crisis point. We need to bring different agencies' skills together to find missing people and make them safe. We need to make sure anyone who comes back from missing gets the help they need to deal with their problems and prevent them going missing again. We need to do everything we can to prevent vulnerable children and adults being harmed or killed while missing.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

November Postcode Millions in Pontyclun

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported Missing People since 2008. We’re one of the lucky 63 causes in the UK and globally supported by players and to date, over £3.4 million of the £91 million raised overall has come directly to us, helping us be a lifeline when someone goes missing. With support from players we can sustain our free, confidential and 24 hour helpline, 116000, for those missing or considering going missing and the families left.
The Postcode Millions draw, held on the last Saturday of each month, came to the beautiful National Trust Dyffryn Gardens in Pontyclun, south Wales on 28 November. Cardiff resident and Missing People representative Mansel Jones went along last Saturday to meet and thank lucky winners from the postcode CF72 8FG. Statistics from the UK Missing Persons Bureau show 6,204 missing incidents reported to South Wales Police each year. Through our services, including our helpline, we provide help and support to missing people and their families. Family members like Mansel, whose cousin Ross disappeared in 1965.
“My cousin Ross Evans from Aberdare in south Wales went missing from his hall of residence at University of Bristol 50 years ago this month (November 2, 1965). He was a medical student seemingly happy and coping with his work. His family have never heard from him since and there’s been no clue as to his disappearance.  Had there been an organisation like Missing People at the time, I’m sure my relatives would have had greater support in their deep anxiety and, possibly, some answers. The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears – the kind of lifeline Ross’s parents, brother and sister, and other family members could have done with back in the 60s and in the years that followed. It’s a wonderful, much-needed charity and deserves our support.”

Missing People Chief Executive Jo Youle said ‘We can’t thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery enough for their continued support, helping us be a lifeline to missing people and their families in Wales and the rest of the UK.  They make a vital contribution to our cause and we are thrilled when they win life-changing sums of money”.

For more information about People’s Postcode Lottery, see their website

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Reflections on Hope – Missing People Family Forum 26th September 2015

Earlier this autumn we held our Family Forum, which is a time for those affected by missing to come together. We're able to hold this forum each year thanks to funding from Big Lottery Fund and this year the theme was 'hope'. Here are some of the thoughts shared.

Hope is what you live in everyday, it’s all I’ve got. Am unlikely to ever get answer

Hope that Missing People can keep doing what they’re doing
To have a safe space to talk where I can be open and honest about how I feel
Hope that people can be directed to support very quickly as it was a while before we found out about Missing People
Hope changes very quickly especially when a person is over a certain age 
Hope that she’s out of pain, resting, that she didn’t suffer 
If he’s alive, that he’s thriving and hasn’t forgotten us, that he’s being cared for 
Hope that Presumption of Death gives us closure in absence of her 
Hope is transient. In the beginning we were very hopeful that she would be found quickly but as time goes on realising that she won’t have lasted
Can’t let go of hope
Hope is all you have
Hope that police don’t have their budget cut and that they don’t take this away from spending on missing person investigations
Hope that we can be a more caring and joined-up society
Hope that when people are found that they and their families get more support so that they don’t go missing again
Hope for myself, it’s not just my child” 
Hope to keep on having the strength to one day be able to face up to the outcome, whatever that may be
Hope that I’ll build knowledge and strength to not only manage myself but also to help others, help society, other families who have someone missing helps me to cope 
Hope to be able to accept what is happening

Giving up hope can feel like “letting go”? 
Having someone missing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle but the last piece is missing
Hope it’s alive in the daytime, but at night-time fears take over 
Hope can be a driving force, to keep going, to keep the person alive
Hope can change and be different at different times
Hope is a long term thing – more than just a word
Your heart can tell you one thing, and your head another 
You think about the impact on other people in the family – that some people will pass away, never knowing what happened
Hope comes with fear 
It’s difficult when some members of the family don’t want to talk about it anymore
Hope can be a tease, preventing us from really accepting thing
Different family members may not agree about what might have happened and how to deal with things – you have to find your own way…….

Ask your MP to sign Missing People’s early day motion to support families of missing people

 Ann Coffey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, this week submitted an Early Day Motion (a parliamentary motion MPs can sign to draw attention to particular issues) pushing the government to introduce a new scheme of legal guardianship.

In the UK, 250,000 people go missing each year. Although 98% of missing people return or are located within a week, for the families and friends of those who are not, the trauma and distress can be met by increasing financial, legal and practical difficulties.

When a person is missing, families can struggle to keep their loved one’s affairs in order. Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions will often refuse to discuss issues with anyone other than the specific client - if that client is the missing relative, there is nothing the family can do. Finances can be damaged beyond repair and in the worst cases, homes are at risk of being lost – affecting not only the missing person but their loved ones too.

As part of the Missing Rights campaign, Missing People has been campaigning for a new scheme of legal guardianship that would allow a family member to apply for the right to manage the affairs of their missing relative.

The campaign, supported by MPs, families of missing people and our supporters, led to the Justice Minister Lord Faulks QC announcing proposals to introduce a new power of guardianship. However, to date there has been no timetable for its introduction. Many families have been waiting for this law for years, and the impact of this delay means the emotional trauma they experience is exacerbated by the legal and financial difficulties they face. Missing People is campaigning for a timetable of the scheme’s introduction to be urgently announced.

Please support our campaign for a scheme of legal guardianship by using our online tool to ask your MP to sign EDM 733, calling on the government to urgently commit to a parliamentary timetable on its proposal.