How do I get back in touch with my relative?
When you have lost touch with a relative and there is not an open police investigation, Missing People can try to help you reconnect with your family member via our Lost Contact Tracing Service. This is a free to use service, designed for family members who would like to re-build their relationship. We know relationships can break down for a variety of reasons, and that sometimes reaching out can be difficult. We promise to hear your story and not judge you.
Who can we help?
In order for us to consider taking on a Lost Contact application, you would need to meet the following criteria:
- You know the full name and date of birth of the missing person
- You are a direct relative of the missing person (this does include step and foster parents/siblings)
- You and the missing person are over 18 years old
- The missing person was in touch with you within the last 20 years
- You have been out of touch for at least 6 months
- Before losing touch you had a substantial relationship with the missing person
- The missing person was last known to be in the UK
- You are happy to talk in confidence and without judgement, about why the contact ended
- You want to reconnect with your family member and re-build your relationship
When can't we help?
There are a few circumstances where we categorically cannot take on a request, such as:
- You are a spouse or ex partner of the missing person
- The missing person is not in the UK
- The missing person or you are under age 18
- The missing person will not remember you
- You have never met the missing person
- You want to find them to arrange a will or other legal process
- There is a legal reason you cannot be in contact
How can I apply?
Frequently asked questions about the Lost Contact service
How does it work?
After we receive your application, we will get in touch to ask a few further questions and explain in more detail 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 then forward on a letter from Missing People explaining to your relative that you would like to be in touch. The letter asks your family member to call in to our helpline and let us know how they would 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 Lost Contact team. The same support will be offered to your family member, as 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 you feel most comfortable, and we can even be on the phone with you during that first call if you would find it helpful.
Do you always find them?
Although we send letters to presumed addresses, we cannot always confirm 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.
Will you tell them what I've said, or give me their address?
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 can never promise how someone may react, however we do promise to always respect everyones' 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.
Our Lost Contact service is made possible thanks to generous support from LexisNexis and other donations. If you would like to help maintain this free service, please see our how to support us pages here.
To access this service, please contact us.
- Call 116 000
- Fill in the Lost contact tracing request form.