Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A new research project about missing adults

When talking about the missing issue, it is easy to focus on the many children who disappear each year. After all, they make up two-thirds of missing reports, and it’s incredibly distressing to imagine a vulnerable child, out in the world alone, with nowhere to turn.

But there’s more to the picture. Thousands of adults are also reported missing every year in the UK. And every one of those adults is someone’s child, or someone’s sibling, or friend. And just as young missing people face risks while they are away, a recent study of missing adults revealed that “over one third of adults had felt themselves to be in danger at some point while they were missing”. 

That said, the situation is more nuanced: adults have the right to leave their home and job if they wish, and to break off contact with family and friends. Classifying adults as missing is difficult, which means it is a struggle to measure the number of adults missing in the UK or fully understand what their experience of missing looks like.

A research team, from the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee and Grampian Police, is aiming to fill this knowledge gap with a new research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project will focus on missing adults and families of missing people, as well as the police officers who search for missing people. We are glad that the charity Missing People is supporting our research by sitting on our Advisory Group.

Our research will examine how different agencies involved in searching for missing people use their different knowledge, skills and resources to intervene in missing 'events' and 'processes'. In particular, we will investigate the geographical strategies employed by the police and families to search for missing people at local, national and international levels and how such strategies change and develop over time.

Call for participants

We will also want to talk to former missing people in order to understand more about the experiences of going and staying missing and particularly identify intentional and unintentional uses of space and place during missing incidents. This information on will help us understand more about 'going missing', or being reported as missing.

Would you like to discuss your experience of going missing?

We’re hoping to talk, in confidence, to adults who have been missing. Where possible we would like to speak in person, but can also conduct interviews by telephone. We would especially like to talk to people who were missing for more than more than 3 days, and especially those people missing for more than 14 days.

Speaking first hand to missing people and their families is really important as it might help interested parties, such as the police, charities, families and returned missing people, better understand how to respond to the concerns that missing people themselves face.

If you are over 18 years old, have ever been missing for more than 3 days, and would like to share your experience of this time, we would like to hear from you.

Equally, if you just want to find out more about the project you can contact me by email:; telephone 0141 330 8655 or 07582 903 175; or leave a message on the project’s Facebook page:
For further information you can view the project’s website at:

By Dr. Olivia Stevenson
Research Fellow
Geographies of missing people: experiences, processes, responses

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Coming soon to a community near you – the charity Missing People

As one of Missing People’s new Local Co-ordinators, I am responsible for co-ordinating the search in the London area, raising awareness of the crisis services available, and supporting families of the missing at a local level.

At the moment there are only three of us – in London, Yorkshire and the West Midlands – but the charity’s aim is to have a co-ordinator in every region by the end of 2013, ensuring that everything possible is being done to help vulnerable missing people and their families left behind. Lots of groundwork is being done to pave the way for Local Co-ordinators across the country and this is progressing well so far!

For the first time this week I am going to be visiting the family of a missing person who are in great need of support and will be working out with them how best we can offer the help they need at this difficult time. I was delighted to have had the opportunity to spend time with Wandsworth and Westminster Missing Person Units over the past months to talk through our strategies for joint working and supporting families in the future, which has been very useful indeed.

We are now on the look out for volunteers to join the search and help us raise awareness of the charity in the local community, starting with Londoners. We are building a team of people who give up their time to talk to local community groups and businesses, inspiring them to join the search and helping to raise vital funds for the charity.

We have been really pleased with the response from community groups such as the London Lions, Rotary Clubs and Church groups who want to help us raise awareness about Missing People and who have already started to raise money for us. Could you help us to inspire more groups and individuals to Join The Search?

To find out more about how you can help and be a part of this new and exciting work please visit:

Beth Knebel
Missing People Local Co-ordinator for London

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Join the Search - Bake a cake!

There are so many ways that you could help support the search for missing people. You can download an appeal poster from Missing People’s website, collect change in a Home Money Box, or leave a message supporting our campaign for families left behind on our Wall of Reminders. You can also bake a cake. Yes, joining the search could be as simple as combining eggs, butter, flour and sugar in a bowl.

The Missing People Cake Off is a fun and easy way that you can join the search for the 200,000 people who go missing each year and help their loved ones left behind.

Why not organise a Cake Off day at work or school? Recently Police constable Bev Sissons supervised a big cake-bake at the University Church of England Academy in Ellesmere Port. Bev, a Cheshire Police schools liason officer, and her team of children from years eight and nine baked, decorated and sold nearly 200 cakes to raise money for Missing People. (See their photo on the left!)

Bev said, “It was a good project which the kids enjoyed. We raised £70 very quickly. Missing People seemed like a good charity to support, as it provides a message-home service for people who have suddenly decided to break with their families. What is just as important, the charity's helplines also cater to children and adults who are even thinking about running away." 

There are a variety of ways you can create a unique event - pick a cupcake theme or encourage your friends or colleagues to come in fancy dress or non-uniform! Or hold a competition for the most eye-catching cake! We would suggest a minimum donation of £1 per cake. Make sure you send us any photos of your creations for our cupcake Hall of Fame! 

You can email any photos as well as queries to me at

To whet your appetite, here are a few of my favorite cupcake recipes:

And my very favorite - those made by a colleague for the Missing People's office's very own Cake Off. 
Clare Cook's Cupcakes

  • 125g butter (very soft)
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Milk
  • Preheat oven 190c. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  • Put all the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk so that the mixture is of a dropping consistency
  • Spoon into your prepared paper cases & bake for about 12-15mins, depending on your sizes.

I usually use “buttercream” style icing, which you can get from most supermarkets, and ice the cakes using an icing bag and wide nozzle. Glitter icing looks very effective, as do daisies made of edible paper (again available in the shops)!

What's YOUR favorite cupcake recipe? Tell us in the comments!

For more info on how you can join the search, visit

By Chrissy Birtwistle

Supporter Care Officer at Missing People

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.