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 John Farlow

John FARLOW

John Farlow was last seen in Yeppoon Queensland in November 1996. He was known to walk long distances and lived on an old mining lease in Anakie Queensland. John’s residence...

Missing Person John Bennett

John BENNETT

John Bennett was last seen on 6 April 1964 in Sydney whilst employed by the Navy. The attached photograph was taken in 1958. There are concerns for his safety and welfare. If...

Missing Person Bronwyn Winfield

Bronwyn WINFIELD

Bronwyn Winfield was last seen at her home in Lennox Head NSW by relatives on 16 May 1993. Her estranged husband reported her missing to police on the 27 May 1993....

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