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.

From here you can download research publications, free of charge, in PDF format.

Below are also copies of Missing People's  survey reports, conference presentations and consultation submissions. Research reports are ordered by date, most recent first.

Research reports

Heading Back to Harm: A study on trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing from care in the UK (2016)

Image of Heading Back to Harm research report cover

This research study analysed Freedom of Information request data from 217 local authorities, about trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing from care. The research also drew on information collected during two focus groups with chiildren and young people who have been trafficked, and a large-scale survey of professionals across the UK. Click here or on the report title above for the full report, or click here for the summary report. A technical report is available on request; please click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to send an email request. (Simon, A., Setter, C. and Holmes, L. 2016).

*This version amends a typeset error in the table 'Regional breakdown of numbers of children in selected categories' in Appendix 3 on page 113 of the printed report. Uploaded 22nd November 2016.

Running the Risks: The links between gang-involvement and young people going missing (2015)

Running the Risks report cover image

This research by Missing People, in partnership with the Catch 22 Dawes Unit, reveals how gangs are setting children up in flats for weeks at a time to sell drugs in provincial areas. The report calls for gang-involved young people who go missing from home or care to be treated as victims rather than as criminals.  Click here or on the report title above for the full report, or click here for the summary report. (Sturrock, R. and Holmes, L. 2015).

 

 

Community Mental Health Teams and the response to Missing Patients (2015)

This research explores the response of Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) when a patient in the community goes missing. The report addresses whether CMHTs ever discharge missing patients and how they respond when a missing patient returns. Click here or on the report title above to download the full report, or click here or on the image on the right for an infographic summarising the key findings. (Rickford, R. 2015).

 

 

 

When the Search is Over: Reconnecting missing children and adults (2014) 

When the Search is Over report cover image

This project explored the ways in which missing people reconnect to family, carers or a place of safety, and makes recommendations for improvements in the way reconnections are facilitated and supported. The full report can be downloaded by clicking on the report title above and this, a summary report and individual chapters are available to download from the project page at: 'When the Search is Over' (Holmes, L. 2014).

 

 

People with Intellectual Disabilities Going Missing (2012)

People with Intellectual Disabilities Going Missing report cover image

This research highlights the relationship between intellectual disability and going missing, with a view to offering better support to people who may be considered at risk of going missing. The paper seeks to define terms such as 'intellectual disability' and 'missing', using specific cases to highlight areas to focus on for improving support for vulnerable people. Click here or on the report title above to download the full report as a PDF. (Rickford, R. 2012).

 

 

Still Hidden? Going missing as an indicator of child sexual exploitation (2012) 

Still Hidden report cover image

This report provides policy makers and practitioners with an overview of the literature that connects child sexual exploitation and going missing. Click here or on the report title above to download the full report. (Sharp, N. 2012).

 

 

 

Learning from Callers to Runaway Helpline and Message Home (2011)

Learning from Callers to Runaway Helpline and Message Home report cover image

Missing People, supported by the Oak Foundation, conducted a two-year study of the charity's 24/7, free, confidential Runaway Helpline and Message Home services. Click here or on the report title above to download the full report. (Holmes, L. 2011).

 

 

 

Reconnect Network Westminster Pilot Evaluation (2011)

Safeguarding and Reconnecting report cover image

In 2010, the Department of Health funded the pilot of an information-sharing protocol in the London Borough of Westminster. This report outlines the evaluation of this pilot and recommendations for future development. Click here or on the report title above to download the summary report. To download the full evaluation report, please click here. (Holmes, L. and Diamond, F. 2011).

 

 

 

Vulnerable Children on the run: A European Challenge (2011)

Vulnerable Children on the Run report cover image

In 2010, Missing People’s former Chief Executive, Martin Houghton-Brown, was invited to become special Rapporteur for Runaway Children to the Council of Europe. As part of this role, Martin conducted a research project examining how member states respond to missing children. Click here or on the report title above to download the full report. (Houghton-Brown, M. 2011).

 

 

Lost from View: A study of missing persons in the UK (2003)

Lost from View report cover image

Lost from View, a publication by the University of York, presents findings from the most extensive study of missing persons yet undertaken in the UK. It provides important new information on the motivations and circumstances of both missing adults and children, and is the first study to draw directly on the  views and experiences of missing adults themselves. Click here or on the report title above to download the full report. To download the summary report, please click here. (Biehal, N., Mitchell, F. and Wade, J. 2003).

 

 

 


A round up of research and issues relating to missing children and young people.

if you are looking for advice and support for young people who are missing, or considering going missing, you can find this information here.

Missing children and young people (2012)

Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

Below are a series of information sheets on particular issues related to missing children.

Return Interviews (2014)

An overview of research and statutory guidance explaining what a return interview is, how and when they should be used and the value of carrying out return interviews with adults and children when they return from being missing. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF. 

Child Sexual Exploitation Project (2014)

Details of Missing People's work to support children who are sexually exploited. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

Trafficked children and 'missing' (2014)

An exploration of research linking missing and trafficked children co-written by Missing People and ECPAT UK. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

Missing 16 and 17 Year Olds (2013)

An exploration of why 16 and 17 year olds go missing, what support they have and what their outcomes are. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (2013)

An analysis of how the Convention relates to the rights of missing children. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

Missing Children Europe (2013)

An overview of the work of Missing Children Europe. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

Missing Children and the European Union (2013)

A document outlining the priorities of the EU in safeguarding children. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.

The English Coalition for Runaway Children (2013)

An overview of the work of the English Coalition for Runaway Children. Click here or on the title above to download the Information Sheet as a PDF.



Conference presentations

Holmes, L. and Sturrock, R. (2015) 'Running the Risks', paper presented at the Second International Conference on Missing Children and Adults, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels 8-10 July 2015.

Holmes, L. and Woolnough, P. (2015) 'Police Search Advisers and the Search for Missing People', paper presented at the Second International Conference on Missing Children and Adults, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels 8-10 July 2015.

Holmes, L (2013) ‘Reconnecting Missing Children and Adults’, paper presented at the First International Conference on Missing Children and Adults, University of Portsmouth 18-20 June 2013.

Holmes, L. and Woolnough, P. (2013) 'Mental Health and Missing’, paper presented at the First International Conference on Missing Children and Adults, University of Portsmouth 18-20 June 2013.

Houghton-Brown, M. (2010) ‘Vulnerable Children on the Run’, keynote speech presented to the Vulnerable Children on the Run: A European Challenge Conference, Royal Palace, Brussels 17-18 November 2010 (powerpoint presentation).

 

Consultation submissions

Millennium Cohort Study Sweep 6 consultation submission (2013)