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What will happen if I go missing?

If you leave home, disappear or go missing, it is likely that someone will report your disappearance to the police. This will probably be someone you live with, or someone who sees you regularly, like at colleague at work.

What will the police do?

The police will want to make sure you are safe. They will open a missing report and take various steps to find you. This could include talking to people who know you, reviewing CCTV footage, taking DNA samples from items that belong to yo, or checking your bank transactions. What the police will do next will depend on whether they consider you as High, Medium or Low risk. They will base this decision on what they know about you and your situation, from the missing report.

The police are likely to use publicity to try to find you. This might include missing posters and appeals online, such as their website and social media. They may also search areas where they think you are. Police often send missing people a text message, from us, to let you know we’re here to help. 

What will happen next?

To discuss your missing status, you can talk to us. If you ask us to, we can contact the police to check this for you. We can also pass messages to them, or put you through to them on a 3-way call. The police will want to make sure you are safe and okay. To do this they need to see you, and do a ‘safe and well check’. After they’ve done this, they can cancel your missing status.

If you are 18 or over they won’t say where you are or take you back home. If you are Under 18 the police will need to make sure you are taken home or somewhere else that is safe. For more information about this, visit our Runaway Helpline website.

If you are away from home and want to let someone at home, or a family member, know you are okay we can pass a message to them for you. Going missing is not an offence. Adults over the age of 18 have the right to go missing unless they have been detained under the Mental Health Act, or are legally in the care of another person. Legally, will not be in any trouble for going missing unless you are wanted for a crime.

Talk to us

If you’re thinking of leaving home, we can talk about your options and help you to be safe. We won’t judge you, or tell you what to do.

Talk to us