National Missing Persons Week 2022: Australians asked to consider life with a missing loved one

The AFP’s National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) is urging Australians to think of the people they love and ask what their life would be like without them this National Missing Persons Week (NMPW).

NMPW 2022 is being launched today (31 July) by the AFP with an innovative digital campaign called “Without Them” that challenges Australians to identify with the missing, feel the weight of each missed year and consider their own emotional reaction to having a loved one go missing.

The week runs until 6 August with the AFP reminding Australians that all communities can experience the anguish of a missing loved. Last year, more than 53,000 missing persons reports, about 145 a day, were made to police in Australia, highlighting the pervasiveness of the issue.

AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Specialist Protective Command Jason Kennedy said NMPW was an annual week of action to raise awareness of the significant issues surrounding missing persons.

“Young, old, family members, and loved ones all from a range of cultures have one thing in common – the daily fears, hopes and endless questions they leave behind,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Kennedy said.

“NMPW is supported throughout the missing persons sector and within the broader community to bring much needed awareness and hopefully answers for those left behind.”

Eight long term-missing persons were nominated by the AFP’s state and territory counterparts to be featured in this year’s campaign.

Allan Bentley – missing since April 2021 from Tea Gardens, New South Wales.

Darlene Geertsema – missing since October 1978 from Devonport, Tasmania.

Elizabeth Herfort – missing since June 1980 from Acton, Canberra.

Josephine Jennings – missing since April 1997 from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Li Bing Di – missing since February 2001 from Dandenong, Victoria.

Nathan Brosnan – missing since September 2021 from Logan, Queensland.

Paul Baker – missing since August 2021 from Katherine, Northern Territory.

Susan Goodwin – missing since July 2002 from Port Lincoln, South Australia.

“I encourage all Australians to take a look at the profiles of our long-term missing, share the posts and keep the families of those missing in your thoughts,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Kennedy said.

NMPW is supported by the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) and their members who generously donate outdoor advertising space in support of the annual policing campaign. This year, the estimated $2.5 million worth of donated space will highlight the eight missing persons’ profiles on Outdoor signs across Australia.

The policing campaign is supplemented this year by the launch of withoutthem.com.au, developed to display the 2,500 long-term missing persons in Australia whose disappearance is felt deeply by loved ones across the country.

Naomi Busbridge, whose brother Paul went missing in August last year, said having a missing loved one was heart wrenching.

“There are so many questions and no answers. You wonder why, you wonder where and you wonder if you will ever seem the again or know what happened to them,” Ms. Busbridge said.

“You wonder if this will ever end or whether it will be like a giant void and a big black hole forever.”

National Missing Persons Week

Members of the community sharing their stories and support throughout NMPW 2022 are encouraged to use the hashtags #WithoutThem and #NMPW2022.

Media is encouraged to read the Counselling Framework for guidance when working with families of missing people. 

About the NMPCC

The AFP’s National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) plays an active role in coordinating national police efforts, and educating the Australian community to prevent the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia.

The NMPCC is a non-operational arm of the AFP which, put simply, means the team is not involved in the investigations of missing persons. All investigations are undertaken by the relevant state and territory police.

In support of NMPW, the AFP NMPCC coordinates an annual police campaign with state and territory police, highlighting a different theme each year to raise awareness of the significant issues associated with missing persons and profile long-term missing persons to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia.

The annual police campaign compliments other campaigns, events, initiatives and memorial services run by families with a missing loved one, advocacy networks, government and non-government organisations and members of the public.  

 

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

Connect with the AFP: Follow our Facebook, Twitter,  LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube pages to learn more about what the AFP does to keep Australia safe.

Connect with the NMPCC: Follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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