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.

Renae Marsden missing persons from NSW Australia

Renae MARSDEN

Renae Marsden was last seen leaving her family home in Glenhaven to meet friends in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney on 5 August 2013. Her red Mazda 2 vehicle was located parked...

Missing Person Matthew Burgess

Matthew BURGESS

Matthew Burgess, born 1959, was last sighted early August 1984 at Hazel Wood Park. He enjoyed painting and was interested in the Aboriginal lands. Extensive enquiries have...

Missing Person Shayne Gallager

Shayne GALLAGER

Shayne Gallager was last seen on Tuesday 30 September 2003. He was seen driving his vehicle a 1978 Red Nissan Patrol Short Wheel base, registered number 7CZ 988. Shayne was...

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