Away from home

If you have left home, or the place you normally stay, you might have been reported as a missing person. We're here to help.

Being a missing person

The definition of ‘missing’ is that you are not at the place you normally stay, and people don’t know where you are. Going missing is not a crime if you are an adult, and we know that people have to make difficult decisions about what is best for them. You may not have meant to go missing, but people might be worrying if they have not heard from you.

You might have realised the police are searching for you. We want you to be in control of what happens next, and only do things you feel ready for.  Some people will want to go home, some may just want to stop being looked for while they work things out, and some may want to reconnect with people they miss. We know things may happen in stages – from finding a safe space to be, to making contact with police, to reconnecting with loved ones. You have the right to make these decisions when you feel ready.

We’re here to support you, for free and in confidence. Call or text 116 000.

Talk to us

Next steps

Being away can feel difficult and lonely. Some of the practical problems of being away may make it hard to find the space and calm you need. Consider these next steps.

Take your time

Give yourself the time you need. Find an open place like a cafe, library or place of worship where you can sit down and think about what to do next. Think about who you can speak to – this might be a trusted friend, or a professional. We’re here if you need us.

Look after yourself

You may not have everything to meet your basic needs; food, water, money, phone, internet access, medication or somewhere to stay. If you don’t feel safe where you are right now, consider alternatives; spend time in busy, well-lit areas for example, or with a friend, while you decide what to do next.

Remember, it's not too late

Things might feel so bad that you are considering doing something dangerous, like putting yourself at risk, hurting yourself or taking your own life. It’s important that you know; you are not alone, and there is help available.

Know your rights as a missing person

Going missing isn’t a crime if you are over 18, but the police may be looking for you to make sure you are okay. Make sure you understand what might happen now, and what your rights are as a missing person.

Support for young people

The law is different if you are under 18 years old. Make sure you understand what your rights are as a younger person. Runaway Helpline can provide you with information and ways to get support, including via our Online Chat service.

Tell people what you need

You may not have been able to get the help you need or are entitled to yet – possibly because you haven’t had the chance to speak to the relevant services and explain what is happening.

Our Guides

Understand what ‘being missing’ means and find out whether you are have been reported as a missing person.

Discover how we can support you, talk to people for you and get you the help you need.

Find out how the police will coordinate a search when someone is reported missing.

If you want people to stop the search for you, find out what you need to do to make this happen.

Follow our guidance on how to keep yourself safe if you are away from home.

Find a list of support services, helplines and people you can speak to locally who might be able to help you.

Other helpful stuff

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.