What is a missing person?

In Australia, a missing person is defined as:

Anyone who is reported missing to police, whose whereabouts are unknown, and there are fears for the safety or concern for the welfare of that person.

While there is a single definition used by police to describe a missing person, there are a variety of different circumstances which fit that description. A missing person may be a victim of misadventure, someone suffering from a health related issue (i.e. dementia), someone needing time out, or simply someone not where they are expected to be.

People talk about ‘missing’ in different ways including disappearance, abduction, homelessness, running away, couch surfing, sleeping rough, going walkabout or heading off. Missing persons can be of any age, gender, ethnicity, or background and the reasons why people go missing are many and varied.

Long term missing persons

When a missing persons case lasts longer than three months, the case is considered to be long term. Every missing persons case remains active until the missing person is located.

There are some circumstances where a person does not fit the police definition of a missing person but where loved ones are feeling the same loss due to their absence.

Missing Person Elizabeth Barlow

Elizabeth BARLOW

Elizabeth is originally from QLD and has not been in contact with family since 1995. She was last living in Redfern, Sydney in 1995 and has not been seen since. She is also known...

Missing Person Lorraine Kessey

Lorraine KESSEY

At 11.45pm on the evening of Friday, 16 December 1977, Lorraine Kessey and a girlfriend left the Black Forest Tavern, Albany Hwy, Victoria Park and hitched a lift to a house in...

Missing Person Anthony Jones

Anthony JONES

Anthony (Tony) Jones disappeared in November 1982. Tony, from Perth, Western Australia was on a six month backpacking holiday around Australia. At the time of his disappearance ...

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