Today Ann Coffey MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, has launched an inquiry into the current response of professionals and agencies, including the police, local authorities, the NHS and the voluntary sector, to adults who go missing from home, care or hospital and are vulnerable because of mental health issues.
The aim of the inquiry is to better understand what currently happens when a vulnerable adult goes missing and what happens when they return, particularly what additional support or intervention would help to ensure their safety.
There are over 100,000 incidents of adults going missing reported to the UK police every year. The vast majority of missing people will be found safely, however, adults who go missing are often vulnerable and may experience serious harm while away, and those who do return may still be at risk in their home environment. Up to a third of adults who go missing will do so on more than one occasion.
Research shows that 60% of adults who disappear have mental health issues, this figure may in actuality be even higher. The risks for this group are very real – some will take their own lives, others will self-harm, be abused, face exploitation or struggle to make safe decisions.
Missing People, as co-secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group, are supporting the inquiry’s call for evidence from relevant professionals and anyone who has lived experience. Any submissions will help to ensure that we have a good understanding of the current response to vulnerable missing adults and will help to inform recommendations for how agencies can work together or what additional services might be needed.