Missing People’s Lived Experience Advisory Forum

About the forum

Missing People is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting missing people and their families.

At the charity we are working towards putting people with lived experience at the heart of everything we do. To do this, we need to hear more from people who have been missing* themselves, and this is where you can help.

We have set up an ‘Experts by Experience’ forum, for people aged over 16 who have been missing.

In addition, we are setting up a network of people who are happy to be contacted to share their feedback and experience, but do not want to join a more formal group.

* We understand that not everyone might identify with the label of having been ‘missing’, so to clarify, by ‘missing’ we simply mean when someone leaves where they have been living or staying, without telling or being able to tell other people where they have gone. Perhaps you prefer a different term, such as having ‘gone away, ‘run away’, ‘disappeared’, ‘gone absent’, ‘taken time out’, or something else. This could include being away from home, care, a hospital, or a mental health care setting. Whatever you call it, if you think this describes you, we want to hear from you.


What does this involve?

Sharing your expertise and feedback to help us to improve the way we support others who are thinking about going missing, currently missing, or have returned from being missing. This will include things like:

  • Giving feedback about our support services, policies, campaigns, and professional training materials and contents
  • Ensuring that our services meet the needs of the people that use them
  • Contributing to the development of Missing People’s strategy, new projects, and new front-line services
  • Working with us to develop and carry out current and future research
  • Giving your feedback about things like surveys, communication materials, press releases and fundraising bids
  • Sharing your experience (publicly or anonymously) in the media or with other professionals to make sure that people understand the experiences of people who have been missing


Why should you get involved?

The Forum was set up in April 2023, but we are keen to hear from people who want to join the group now that it has been established.

Your involvement will lead to real, on-the-ground improvements to how others going through similar experiences as you did are supported, and how future missing episodes might be prevented through early intervention from appropriate support services that might have helped you before you went missing.

Your input will materially improve the quality of the services we provide for people who are currently missing and those who have recently returned, and directly inform how our services can be tailored to the unique needs of each individual.

The groups are a safe space for you to share your experiences. Missing People has been supporting people affected by missing for nearly 30 years, and the team has lots of experience making sure people are supported and safe in sharing their experiences and being involved with the charity.


Get involved

If you want to be involved or to know more about this, either:

  1. Please complete this short form here and we will get back to you promptly via email
  2. Alternatively, you can email Ross Paterson at ross.paterson@missingpeople.org.uk.


More detail about the group

The Lived Experience Advisory Forum (‘LEAF’):

  • This group meets via Zoom
  • It is be facilitated by two members of Missing People’s research team and services team, alongside colleagues from other teams joining depending on the topic of discussion
  • You can join with your camera off if you would prefer that
  • Initially meetings will take place on a quarterly basis

 The ‘Lived Experience Advisory Network’ (LEAN)

  • The LEAN would be made up of individuals who would like to offer their advice and feedback to the charity in a less formal way, mainly through emails directly from the research team at Missing People
  • LEAN members would play a similar role to those in the LEAF, but without the need to join calls or meetings
  • You would offer your thoughts or feedback to the things that you want to, but there would be no expectation to respond to every e-mail or request for your input

Sign up to be a Digital Search Hero

We have launched a regular email so that you can be aware of new missing person appeals and share them far and wide! We are also calling on all Heroes to be the eyes and ears for Missing People on the ground. Your sighting of a missing person could make a difference in a crucial time.