Scottish National Missing Persons Framework Project

Missing in Scotland

There are nearly 15,000 missing incidents reported to Police Scotland every year, with the majority of these being medium to high risk missing persons. Many more incidents go unreported. In 2020-2021, over 40% of investigations related to someone who has been missing more than once, and nearly 50% of investigations related to children. Most of the harm suffered by missing adults and children in Scotland relates to mental health. Moreover, Scotland sadly had 117 fatal outcomes from missing incidents in 2020-2021, which is a greater number than the 58 victims of homicide in Scotland in 2020-2021 (NCA UK Missing Persons data 2020-2021).

Launched in May 2017, The National Missing Persons Framework was the first of its kind in Scotland. Its aim is to build on existing good practice from professionals around missing by existing as guidance with regard to the following aims:

  • To prevent people from going missing in the first place;
  • To limit the harm associated with people going missing in Scotland.

Missing People is uniquely placed to support the Scottish Government’s work in implementing The National Missing Persons Framework. We are the only national charity that supports missing and returned children and adults as well as their families left behind. We have supported every stage of the development and implementation of the Framework, including being a key member of the Framework Development Steering Group.

Our work in Scotland

We have a strong working partnership with Police Scotland, with a renewed partnership signing in 2018; and we are in receipt of multi-year funding from the Scottish Government to raise awareness and use of our services for young people, which has led to increased use of our services by young people.

Since July 2019, we have been working in partnership with Scottish Government to deliver a programme of support to professionals working with missing adults and children, in accordance with the National Missing Persons Framework.  The National Missing Persons Framework Implementation Project was delivered in three local areas – Dundee, Edinburgh and Fife, between July 2019 and March 2020, and North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Moray, between April 2020 and March 2021. We worked with an additional five local areas Dumfries and Galloway, East Dumbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, and Edinburgh from April 2021 to March 2022. In April 2022 to March 2023 we worked with nine local areas in West Lothian, East Lothian, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Stirling, South Ayrshire, Dundee, Perth and Kinross, and Glasgow.

The project is comprised of the following activities:

  • Mapping and reviewing local policies, protocols and practices for missing people and their families from the following agencies: Police Scotland, local authorities, NHS, and Education.
  • Delivery of a tailored programme of bespoke consultancy and training with specific recommendations for each area to ensure that policies and practice are in line with good practice, as laid out in The Framework.
  • Journey Mapping Workshops for local professionals responding to missing adults and missing children to enable local agencies to better understand local procedure, identify gaps in support and areas for development.
  • Online training on Return Discussions for professionals working with returned children and adults across Scotland.
  • Webinars and information sessions on missing and mental health, current trends in missing, and best practice in response to missing people.
  • Online professionals forum open to all professionals working in the field of missing in Scotland.

National Missing Persons Framework Toolkit

Professionals across Scotland also have access to our online National Missing Persons Framework Toolkit developed as part of the project, containing resources and multi-agency good practice from across Scotland for supporting and responding to missing children, adults and their families.

National conference on missing and best practice

We hold a free annual national conference to share good practice on missing across Scotland, as part of the project. Previous conferences have included speakers from Scottish Government, Police Scotland, those with lived experience of missing, Barnardo’s, Alzheimer’s Scotland, Missing People, and local leads on missing from areas across Scotland.

“I am much more aware of The Framework and how to support people who have gone missing and return. Today has been really informative and I have a lot to reflect on to make changes to my practice and develop my skills and knowledge.”

– Conference attendee, 2021

Project Reports

Our project reports demonstrate the impact and scope of our work with multi-agency professionals in local areas across Scotland, to date.

Year 1 Report (March 2019-June 2020)

Year 2 Report (April 2020-March 2021)

Year 3 Report (April 2021-March 2022)

Year 4 Report (April 2022-March 2023)

For information about how our Missing Specialists can help your local area, please visit our Commission Us page.

Find out more

If you’re interested in us working with you to deliver consultancy or training in your local area, get in touch.

Contact us


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