When a loved one is missing, it can be hard to know what proactive steps to take. We are here to support you through each step. We can agree a plan of action around how to safely launch the right kind of appeal for your missing person.
Our publicity appeals can help to gather vital information from professionals or the public. They can also, on occasion, reach the missing person directly and encourage them to make contact. Whether your loved one is recently missing or has been missing a very long time, we are here for you. With the appropriate consent, we can launch what we call a publicity appeal, which would be tailored to your missing person, to spread awareness and keep the search alive.
It’s important to think about how your missing loved one might feel seeing their own appeal. For some, it can make it feel harder to come home. For others, getting their publicity appeal removed from the internet and media can be difficult, impacting them long after they have returned.
We understand that publicity should always be undertaken with thoughtfulness and caution, both for the missing person and the family members trying to find them. That’s why we discuss everything we can offer with each family member individually.
If your loved one has been missing for longer than 48 hours, our first step will be to send private briefings to our network of Safeguarding Briefing Network partners. Briefings are similar to the public posters, in that they have relevant information about the missing person on them. However, instead of being on display in a window, they are circulated privately to staff members of places like hospitals, homeless support services, and refuges.
If your loved one remains missing after one week, we may be able to launch a public appeal to step up the search.
We can create a web page dedicated to the missing person that includes a photo, some basic information, and usually an option to download a PDF of the missing person’s public poster. To keep our appeals as current as possible, we don’t generally feature information such as what the person was wearing, unless it is likely to really stand out and help to find them. You can see examples of our appeal pages here.
An appeal with the same information featured on our poster will be published on our Missing People Facebook and Twitter pages. Sometimes we have to change the way we post an appeal, for example on Twitter where there is a character limit. So, we always focus on the most relevant information to get the appeal in front of as many people as possible. The social media posts link to the appeal featured on the Help Us Find page on our website. We encourage you to share the appeal through your own social media accounts. Sharing from our account makes it easier and faster to remove the appeal when it’s no longer appropriate to keep it up, or if you need any changes to it.
A poster that features a photo of the missing person along with some basic information. Through our vast network of Poster Partners, these posters can be displayed publicly in places like shops, libraries, café’s, and community notice boards. You will also be sent a digital copy to share with your own networks, as we know how important it can feel to be supported by your local community.
We have access to a growing selection of relationships and slots with media partners all over the UK. They help us get appeals seen or shared in a variety of places from bus stops, magazines, subscriber emails – all the way to huge digital billboards.
There are various other media options to consider. Some will be more suitable when the missing person has recently become missing, and others are more appropriate if they have been missing a long time. Making the decision to work with the media, such as journalists or interviewers, is a personal thing which we are here to guide you through. If this is something you’re interested in, remember to let us know. Everything we do is on your terms and at your speed.
We’re proud of the campaigns we run in partnership with companies who want to use their profile for good. They can help to amplify the message about what it’s like to live in limbo, or to reach out to those who are missing, in as many ways as possible. We always ensure that featuring appeals of missing people is central to every campaign we are a part of. As these spaces are often limited, we cannot feature every appeal. But we do get in touch with as many people as possible to ensure as many lives can be positively impacted as can be.
The safety of your loved one is priority. If there is reason to believe that they are in real and immediate danger or that they cannot keep themselves safe, then we may be able to send out an ‘Urgent Missing Appeal’ before they have been missing for seven days. We will need to understand the circumstances and discuss this with the investigating police force first.
If you a very worried about your loved one and think they may be in danger, but police have categorised them as low risk, we can support you to speak to the police and ask for the risk level to be raised, or we can advocate on your behalf.
If you would like to talk to us about whether it would be appropriate to launch an appeal for your missing person, our Helpline are here to help every day between 9am and 11pm, for free and in confidence.Talk to us