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 Andrew Bourke

Andrew BOURKE

Andrew Bourke was last seen on 30 July 2011. He was drinking with a witness at the camping area off the Tumut River when he has allegedly driven his vehicle into the river with...

Missing Person Chantelle McDougall

Chantelle McDOUGALL

In July 2007 six-year-old Leela and her mother 27-year-old Chantelle McDougall along with two other men vacated their premises in Nannup, Western...

Missing person - Matthew BALE

Matthew BALE

Matthew James Bale, born 1977, was last seen on Rottnest Island, WA at 5:30pm Monday 21st March 2016. He was wearing a yellow Hawaiian shirt, shorts and thongs....

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