How our Lost Contact tracing service works

How does it work?

After we receive your application and can confirm that you meet the criteria we will get in touch to ask a few further questions, and to explain how the process works. We then undertake what we refer to as ‘enquiries’, where we ask our search partners if they have anyone matching the details of your relative on their records. We are supported by Lexis Nexis, and other agencies, who will forward a letter from Missing People, explaining to your relative that you would like make contact.

The letter asks your family member to call our helpline, and tell us how they feel about reconnecting with you. We invite them to talk to us in confidence, and will not pass on any information about them without their consent.

You will be supported throughout the process. From the moment we take on a request, you have access to our 24/7 helpline, our family support services, and the dedicated Lost Contact Team. The same support will be offered to your family member; we know it’s not always easy to have that ‘first conversation’ when you’ve been out of touch for so long. We will offer you both the chance to reconnect via whatever channel feels most comfortable. We can even be on the phone with you during that first call, if you would find it helpful.

Will the person be found?

Although we send letters to presumed addresses, we cannot always confirm that it has gone to the correct one, or that someone will respond. We will send up to two letters to possible addresses before ending our enquiries. This is to ensure your family member does not feel harassed in any way, giving them time and space to think through how they would like to respond.

What happens when they are found?

We are a confidential service, to all parties. Nothing you say to us will be shared with your family member without your consent, and vice versa, should they get in touch. If we happen to be given an address for your family member, we will not pass this on without their consent.

What if they don’t want to reconnect?

Sometimes people are not ready to be back in touch. This can be a permanent feeling, or in some cases your family member may just need time to digest the situation. We cannot promise that somebody will react positively, however we do promise to always respect everyone’s’ wishes. If your loved one does respond, but does not want contact, they will be offered the chance to pass a message back to you via our helpline.

Apply to Lost Contact