APPG: Inquiry into support for families of missing people

In June 2011 the APPG ran the UK’s first ever inquiry into support for families of missing people.

Each of the four sessions were chaired by a cross-party panel of Parliamentarians, who heard evidence from a range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. They also heard directly from families themselves, with witnesses including Peter Lawrence, father of missing Claudia Lawrence, Kate McCann, mother of missing Madeline McCann, and Rachel Elias, sister of missing Richey Edwards.

The sessions

The sessions were themed as follows, and expert witnesses were called to each one to help inform the inquiry panel:

  • Existing support provisions and the Missing Persons Taskforce recommendations
  • Resolving a missing person’s practical affairs: Presumption of death
  • Managing a missing person’s practical affairs: Guardianship
  • Cross matching unidentified bodies and missing persons reports

The report

Following the sessions, the co-chairs established 12 recommendations as to how support for families of missing people could be improved. These formed the basis of the Inquiry’s report, which was handed to 10 Downing Street for the Coalition Government’s consideration.

APPG Report: Inquiry into Support for Families of Missing People

The response to the report

In July 2011, former Home Office Minister James Brokenshire MP accepted the Inquiry’s overarching recommendation to establish a policy framework across the Government on missing persons:

“I welcome the timely APPG Inquiry into this important issue and fully endorse the principles behind the Committee’s recommendations. Protecting vulnerable missing people and providing effective support for families is a critical issue for Government and I strongly agree with the need for a clear vision in this area. That is why I am today accepting the Inquiry’s overarching recommendation that Government should set out a cross-government outcomes policy framework for missing persons by developing a missing persons strategy to take forward this work. The strategy will be developed over the summer and be published in the Autumn.”

The first Cross Government Strategy on Missing Children and Adults was published in December 2011 and can be found here.

The Ministry of Justice’s response to the APPG report on Support for Families of Missing People can be found here, and its inquiry submission outlining current presumption of death measures in England and Wales are here.