Missing Persons Registry
The Missing Persons Registry (MPR) was established in July 2019 and not only oversees every Missing Persons report in NSW, but also the unidentified bodies and human remains. Although the MPR is made up of a team of detectives and analysts, it does not usually investigate Missing Persons, instead it reviews each report and provides a supportive role to the police in the field.
Missing Persons In NSW
On average 28 people go missing every day in NSW. Most people are located almost immediately however around 1% go on to become Long Term Missing Persons.
The national definition of ‘Long Term’ is any person missing for over 90 days.
In 2020 there were a total of 9,799 Missing Person reports recorded in NSW. Of these, 18 became Long Term and 12 remain as outstanding.
2016 – 173 Missing Persons hit 90 days with 20 people remaining outstanding;
2017 – 173 Missing Persons hit 90 days with 24 people remaining outstanding;
2018 – 115 Missing Persons hit 90 days with 30 people remaining outstanding;
2019 – 127 Missing Persons hit 90 days with 29 people remaining outstanding;
2020 – 18 Missing Persons hit 90 days with 12 people remaining outstanding.
From the 9,799 Missing Persons in 2020, around 47% were female and 52% were male. Juveniles make up 36% of reports with adults totalling around 63%.
The MPR oversees current Missing Persons and cases dating back to 1945. In 2019 there was a total of 769 Long Term Missing Persons across NSW however by the end of 2020 this number was reduced to 757.
Who Is A Missing Person?
A Missing Person is defined as anyone who is reported to Police, whose whereabouts are unknown and there are fears for the safely or concerns for the welfare of that person. This includes anyone missing from institutions, excluding escapees. If you have genuine concerns for the safely and well-being of a person, make a Missing Persons Report at your local NSW Police Force Station.
It is important to remember that going missing is NOT a crime. The NSW Police Force is here to ensure the safely of the public, including investigating the whereabouts of missing persons.
How To Make A Report
You do NOT need to wait 24 hours before making a report to police. If you have concerns for the safely and welfare of someone that cannot be located, attend your local police station to make a report as soon as possible.
What police will ask you:
- The full name and DOB of the Missing Person
- Physical description or a recent photograph of the Missing Person
- Details of any mobile phone numbers, social media accounts or vehicle registrations
- A list of friends/associates or possible locations.
- What concerns you have, when the Missing Person was last seen or made contact.
- If known, any medical information that may increase the risk to the Missing Persons. E.g. mental health, dementia or diabetes.
Police may also ask the next of kin to sign an Authority for Publicity. This can help police to locate a person quickly by publishing a photo of the Missing Person on such things as social media and news outlets.
What if I am reported missing?
If you have been reported missing it is vital to let police know that you are safe and well, as soon as possible. Your location and contact information can be kept confidential if you are over the age of 18 years or in danger. Police will not disclose your information without your permission.
Find your local police station
Long Term Missing Persons
There are currently 769 Long Term Missing Persons in NSW. These date back to 1945 and can be as recent as 3 months ago.
Helping with historical Missing Persons is very import as it can assist Police with locating that person or bringing closure to family and friends. You can help with locating historical Missing Persons by being aware of those missing in your local area and checking the NSW Missing Persons Database regularly.
If you believe that you have information that may help police, contact Crime Stoppers to make a report. You can also do this by either phone (1800 333 000).
To find out more, read this fact sheet - Making a Missing Persons Report
How You Can Help
It is critical to act as soon as there are concerns for a person that has gone missing.
To assist police in locating someone, you can;
- Search the area where the person was last seen.
- Look for any notes or clues that may have been left by the Missing Person.
- Check known locations that the Missing Persons frequents.
- Speak with family or friends that may have had contact with the Missing Person.
- Secure anything that might be evidence and could be used to locate that person.
Locating A Missing Person
A Missing Person MUST be sighted by an authorised person in order to be deemed ‘Located’. If the Missing Person is not physically sighted, they will remain on the outstanding Missing Person list and police will continue to look for them. Remember, going missing is NOT a crime.
An authorised person includes:
- NSW Police Force Officer
- Customs Officer
- School Principal
- Family and Community Services Officer
Helpful Resources and Search Options
National Missing Persons Coordination Centre.
Free call: 1800 000 634
Mail: PO Box 401, Canberra ACT 2601 (Australia)
The NMPCC, established in 2006, is a non-operational arm of the Australian Federal Police. It is mandated to reduce the impact of Missing Persons across Australia and is funded by the Federal Government.
Families and Friends of the Missing Persons Unit, Victims Services, NSW Department of Communities and Justice (FFMPU)
FFMPU provides those affected by the loss of missing person with free and confidential counselling, information and support at any stage of a missing person’s investigation. Support is offered by phone, face-to-face, or online. FFMPU organises support groups and events to bring families together. They can also liaise with Law Enforcement on behalf of the family and have developed a close relationship with the MPR.
Dementia Australia NSW provides a confidential support service for individuals, families and friends affected by dementia. For a full list of Dementia Australia offices and resources visit the dementia.org.au website.
PO Box 173,
Deakin, ACT 2600.
Ph: 13 11 14, (02) 6215 9400
Lifeline provides a national 24 hour telephone counselling and referral service.
Australia Red Cross Restoring Family Link (RFL)
level 3, 464 Kent Street,
Ph: 1300 875 199, (02) 9229 4143
The Australian Red Cross conducts worldwide searches where contact has been lost due to war, conflict or natural disaster.
International Social Service
Suite 501, 80 William Street,
Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011
Ph: 1300 657 843
Fx: 02 9267 0300
The International Social Service traces family members separated by adoption or other legal intervention, international child abduction and voluntary or forced migration.
Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corp.
4/3 Central Place,
Ropes Crossing NSW 2760
Ph: 1800 624 332 (toll free), (02)9421 4700
Fx: 02 4759 2607
Provides reunion services to adult Aboriginals separated from their families and cultures by government intervention such as adoption, fostering and institutionalisation.
Research And Media
The NSW Missing Persons Registry works closely with other individuals and agencies to develop better methods of locating Missing Persons or identifying located human remains.
Both the NSW Police Force Forensic Evidence & Technical Services Command (FETS) and NSW Health Forensic and Analytical Science Service (FASS) are working together to develop better methods of analysing, recording and searching such things as forensic biology and DNA.
The State Emergency Service (SES) regularly assist Police with searching for Missing Persons. This network of volunteers is vital in coordinating search grids and responding to Missing Persons reports.
Local PCYC provide guidance to children and young people that need additional support. The PCYC provides community space where people can come together and enjoy recreational activities.