Research and information

A collection of current knowledge about the issue of missing as well as our research reports, projects, collaborations and events.  

Understanding the reasons why people go missing and the impact on families left behind enables Missing People and our partners to provide better services.

Missing People’s research team conducts research and evaluation projects on a range of topics, and seeks to share the findings through these web pages. 

The Policy and Research team also provides a hub of information about missing, advocates for change through campaigns and policy work, and monitors and evaluates the charity's impact.

Missing News

The Policy and Research team circulates a regular newsletter, Missing News, containing up to date information about research, policy, events and sector developments. To sign up to Missing News, or to read previous editions, click here.

Article Index

Why do adults go missing?

There are a wide range of reasons why adults and children go missing, with varying levels of intentionality, and often more than one cause. The charity is keen to enhance understanding of these factors further, which will require further research.

Among the most common reasons for adults to be missing are:

  • Diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues: up to 8 in every 10 missing adults
  • Relationship breakdown: 3 in 10 missing adults
  • Dementia: around 1 in 10 adult missing incidents (4 in every 10 people with dementia will go missing at some point, often unintentionally)
  • Financial problems: 1 in 50 adults have stated this as a principal reason for missing
  • Escaping violence: 1 in 50 missing adults

The most common issues raised in conversations with adults contacting our helpline (in order of commonality):

  • Mental health issues including risks of suicide or self-harm
  • Homelessness
  • Problems at home including relationship breakdown
  • Abuse or domestic violence

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