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Missing Persons in Australia

About 38,000 missing persons reports are received by police each year across Australia.

While most of those missing people are found within a short period of time, there are about 2,600 people who have been missing for more than three months.

In Australia, a missing person is anyone who has been reported missing to police whose whereabouts are unknown, and where there are fears for their safety or concern for their welfare.

About one third of missing persons go missing more than once, and each time a person goes missing it is treated as an individual report.

While anyone (regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or educational background) can become a missing person, adults are more likely to be missing long-term. Of the 38,000 missing persons reports submitted to police each year 19,000 or 50% relate to those aged between the years 13 – 17.

Other at-risk groups of going missing within our community include:

  • Children and young people
  • Those suffering a mental illness, or depression
  • The elderly and those living with dementia
  • Persons expressing suicidal thoughts
  • Those living with an intellectual or physical disability or without lifesaving medication.

There are many reasons people go missing and can include mental illness, miscommunication, misadventure, domestic violence, and being a victim of crime.

If you have any concern for the safety and welfare of someone and their whereabouts are unknown you can report them as missing to your local police.

You DO NOT have to wait 24 hours to report someone missing.

Going missing is not a crime.

If you have been reported as missing it means that someone is concerned about your safety and welfare. You can contact Crime Stoppers or police to let them know you are safe and well and your privacy will be maintained.

When located, a missing person must give permission before their whereabouts are released or disclosed to their family. In the case of a located missing child, information and decisions regarding their circumstances and their location may be made in consultation with relevant agencies.