Ann Coffey MP, as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults led the 'Inquiry into safeguarding missing adults who have mental health issues'.
The inquiry was launched with the aims of:
- Developing a better understanding of the current response when an adult goes missing, and the support provided upon their return.
- Developing a better understanding of which agencies are or should be involved when an adult returns from missing.
- Understanding what additional support and interventions could help these vulnerable adults, including what could prevent future missing episodes.
As co-secretariat to the APPG, Missing People carried out consultation with people who have previously been missing, their families and professionals who work with them; analysed responses to a call for evidence sent to police forces and other relevant agencies; and supported parliamentary roundtable meetings attended by experts from a variety of fields.
Recommendations from the inquiry's findings include:
- All missing adults should receive an offer of help upon their return, including mental health support if appropriate.
- National guidance detailing a better response for missing adults should be developed and implemented at a local level by all relevant agencies.
- Police training and guidance on responding to vulnerable missing adults should be reviewed and updated.
The inquiry found that responsibility for supporting missing adults often falls solely to the police - despite the complex needs of many missing adults, particularly those with mental health issues. The APPG is recommending that health services play a much greater role, and that more specialist support is made available.