How to report a missing person
In Australia, anyone can be reported missing to police if their whereabouts are unknown, and there are serious concerns for their safety and welfare. Police will investigate and attempt to locate the missing person. The sooner you notify police that your loved one is missing, the sooner they will be able to begin searching.
A missing persons report can be filed at any local police station (reports over the phone are only accepted in South Australia). Contact your local police station to discuss your needs if you are unable to attend the police station to lodge a report.
When making a missing persons report, the police may take full details straight away or they may take some basic details to carry out initial enquiries and come back to you for more detailed information if the person is not located within a short period of time.
What information do I need to take?
- the person’s full name and any aliases or nicknames they may use
- the person’s date and place of birth
- a detailed physical description of the missing person including height, build, hair (length, style, colour), eye colour, complexion, ethnicity, and any distinguishable features such as tattoos, birth marks, scars or favourite jewellery they may be wearing
- recent photographs of the missing person which clearly show the missing persons face
- where and when the person was last seen or heard from, people they were sighted with, where they were heading
- if known, a description of what the missing person was wearing and any personal items he or she may have had at the time of disappearance
- any factors that give you concern for their current wellbeing
- a list of any medical problems or medications the person may need
- address and phone number of the missing person
- car registration, make, model or any other transport the person may be using, such as a motorbike or bicycle
- names and contact details of friends and associates of the missing person
Give the police as much relevant information as you can and let them know of any steps you have already taken to try to locate the missing person.
Here are some other pieces of information you may be able to provide to further assist in the location of your missing person:
- places the missing person may visit, or likely destinations the missing person may have travelled to
- bank, credit card or other financial accounts, such as social security, used by the missing person
- licence and passport details
- name of the missing person’s doctor, dentist and any other medical practitioner
- details of the missing person’s place of work or study including names and contact details
- details and information about the missing person’s computer or laptop including email addresses, social networking sites, blogs, personal websites or online information sharing sites
- check if clothing, food, camping equipment, wallet, handbag, suitcase, jewellery, mobile phone, passport or other items are missing from the person’s home
- look through the missing person’s diary, address book, briefcase, school bag, favourite book, magazines and other belongings to check for information they may have recorded or highlighted which could indicate if they planned to leave
- information could also be recorded through social media sites, internet browser history and other recent computer use
Additional information about reporting Australians missing overseas.
If you are not in Australia
If you are overseas and wanting to report someone in Australia missing, you should attend your local police station and make a missing persons report. The local police overseas will forward the missing persons report through Interpol channels to the relevant police authorities in Australia for further investigation. If you know of friends or family of your loved one who are in Australia, they may attend their local police station to lodge a missing persons report as described above.