Friday, 26 July 2019

The Missing People Lost Contact Service


You may have heard that our Lost Contact service is back up-and-running. We are so pleased to be able to offer this service to people who have lost touch with someone they love. Read this post from Kirsty, our brand new Lost Contact Supervisor, to find out more about the service.

When the opportunity arose for a Lost Contacts Supervisor in the Services Team at Missing People, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Having worked in the Fundraising and Communications team for a couple of years I had already learnt so much about the devastating frequency of missing cases in the UK, and this seemed like a fantastic opportunity to do more directly to help.

The Lost Contact Tracing service had temporarily been paused whilst we recalibrated under the recent GDPR laws, so it was a new and exciting service that I stepped in to. Taking it over from the experienced hands of Nelda, Services Supervisor, meant that I had a head start in learning how we could work to reconnect families. It was important to get a real grasp on when we could and could not do a trace and why.

My job is to evaluate the application forms and enquiries that come in, pose further questions and discuss their search on the phone. Once we have agreed to take on a trace I will initiate the searches through our partners, starting with an online platform provided by our partners LexisNexis Risk Solutions. If a possible address is identified a letter will be sent from us explaining that a family member would like to be in touch. We are really careful to explain that the decision to be in touch is entirely theirs; we understand that some people wish not to be, and we respect their right to privacy. 


Since re-starting the service in March we have had approximately 100 enquiries that have come through to application stage. The process of tracing can take 6 months or more and my aim is to make sure people feel supported throughout this journey. Often the decision to look for a family member has been one that has been agonized over and it may feel like the last chance for reconnection. It’s vital, therefore, that we aren’t just a procedural service, but a real human being on the end of the phone or an email. I want to bring the values I so admire across the services team and put them at the forefront of the Lost Contacts offer, so that we are providing a holistic and safe environment that people can trust.

When I tell people about my job they are often amazed – it’s a huge privilege to do this and I am immensely proud to be a part of it! Families are complicated and life not always simple, so choices we make one day might not seem so wise on another. Things change. I hope that by offering an olive branch opportunity, we can help reunite families who feel ready to come back together. I can’t think of anything I would rather do more!

Do you want help finding someone you have lost contact with? find out more information about how we can help here. 

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Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. 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 www.missingpeople.org.uk.

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