One of the first instincts you may have when someone you know and love goes missing, is a strong desire to go out and look for them yourself.
Being active in the search can help psychologically and tire you physically, which may help you sleep. Not everyone will want to do this, or feel able to help in this way, and that’s okay. Lots of people don’t have the physical stamina, or they feel too emotionally fragile. Everyone is different and there are other ways of helping.
There are some important points to bear in mind if you plan to go out to look for your missing person.
You may suspect that an individual or individuals may know something about your missing person’s disappearance. Do not approach them. Never put yourself in danger. Even if that person knows nothing and is not involved, you may be putting yourself in a risky situation by confronting them.
If you have suspicions about anyone, tell the police, and let them follow it up. If someone passes information to you about the possible whereabouts of your missing person, the best thing to do is to let the police know immediately. Do not try to follow up by yourself, unless you trust the source and you are certain the information given is true. Even in this case, you must tell the police about it. The information may be false or simply incorrect. You might come across comments on social media giving false or misleading information. You must always let the police know about these.
“I feel searches need to be carried out under the guidance of professional search and rescue entities. In hindsight, having had searches done by friends/family it’s a bit like stomping over a crime scene, anything could be thrown out in court. But sometimes we are driven to it. It depends on what sort of search, physical or just walking a route or phoning friends. I would never say don’t do physical search because sometimes that’s all you can do if not being considered by police.” – family member
“Searching in Canada will be different than in the UK, but I suspect the most important aspect is collaboration with police as is the case here. The key is letting families know what the process is so they understand and can manage their own expectations and actions accordingly.” – family member
“Safe initial searching – stay close to the place they were last seen; a small concentrated area is where you can be most effective and methodical.” – family member
“Always take posters, photos etc. when going on your own search. Set out with a list of places to call, churches, soup runs etc.” – family member
Some missing people are found quickly, but this is not always the case. It is upsetting to imagine that the person you love may be missing for a long time, and there is no need to read on if the person you love has recently gone missing, but if you find that time is passing and you are still searching, there may be other ways for you to ensure the search continues and to raise awareness. Read more about keeping the publicity going
“Never give up hope. Update missing posters and refresh the posters you’ve put up every couple of weeks.” – family member
“Stay connected with the missing communities. Keep sharing appeals and share your own appeals on social media platforms.” – family member
If you are worried about going out to look for your missing person, you can call us to check things out. If you have questions about publicity, we can advise you. If you would like to raise awareness for your missing person by planning a fundraising event, like a walk, run or cycle, get in touch and let us support you to do this. See moreTalk to us