APPG: Inquiry into support for missing adults

Ann Coffey MP, during her time as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults led the ‘Inquiry into safeguarding missing adults who have mental health issues’.

The inquiry was launched with the aims of:

  • Developing a better understanding of the current response when an adult goes missing, and the support provided upon their return.
  • Developing a better understanding of which agencies are or should be involved when an adult returns from missing.
  • Understanding what additional support and interventions could help these vulnerable adults, including what could prevent future missing episodes.

As co-secretariat to the APPG, Missing People carried out consultation with people who have previously been missing, their families and professionals who work with them; analysed responses to a call for evidence sent to police forces and other relevant agencies; and supported parliamentary roundtable meetings attended by experts from a variety of fields.

Download the Inquiry Report

Download the Evidence Summary

Recommendations from the inquiry’s findings include:

  1. All missing adults should receive an offer of help upon their return, including mental health support if appropriate.
  2. National guidance detailing a better response for missing adults should be developed and implemented at a local level by all relevant agencies.
  3. Police training and guidance on responding to vulnerable missing adults should be reviewed and updated.

The inquiry found that responsibility for supporting missing adults often falls solely to the police – despite the complex needs of many missing adults, particularly those with mental health issues. The APPG is recommending that health services play a much greater role, and that more specialist support is made available.

After the report

One year after the report’s launch, to consider the progress that had been made and the necessary next steps. Download the notes from this meeting here: ‘One year on: A roundtable discussion’.

At the same time as this meeting Missing People also publishing a report detailing a number of different examples of good practice from across the country in developing a multi-agency response for missing adults. Download here: “One year on: good and innovative practice in supporting missing adults with mental health issues”

Following these developments a Task and Finish Group has been convened to develop a national, multi-agency framework for the response to adults who go missing. Members of this group include College of Policing, Care Quality Commission (CQC), National Crime Agency, National Police Chief’s Council, NHS England, Public Health England, amongst others.

Learn more about the framework

For further information please contact our Policy & Research Team by emailing

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