Missing People’s second Lived Experience Advisory Forum (‘LEAF’) meeting

In July 2023 Missing People held our second meeting of the Lived Experience Advisory Forum (‘LEAF’), a forum where people with experience of being missing themselves share their experiences and opinions with the charity to inform various aspects of our work.  

At the second meeting we focused on:  

Missing People’s systems change work  

Missing People is beginning a new programme of work focusing on creating change in the systems around missing people and their families. The ultimate aim is to improve the support available for missing people, and the team leading this work hopes to create change at a local and national level.  

The draft systems change strategy was presented to the group by Holly, Missing People’s Head of Business Development. The group then gave their feedback about what was proposed.  

The feedback included:  

  • Making the strategy more visual and using graphics. This includes a graphic that demonstrates the ‘cycle’ of missing, showing key points where support or intervention might be available and helpful  
  • Changing a diagram using concentric circles to better emphasise the missing person in the centre  
  • Suggestions about funding and how to measure the success of the work  

The Business Development team are going to update their strategy based on the feedback, and plan to attend a future forum to talk more about how to measure success of the strategy. The team also plans to involve people with experience of missing as much as possible in the work they do on systems change, including co-production, and will involve the LEAF in that in the future.  

Media guidance on reporting about missing people  

Ross, Director of Fundraising and Communications, then presented ideas about media guidance for journalists to use when reporting about missing people. There was lots of feedback about the content of the guidance and about how journalists should use it, including:  

  • Ensuring journalists know that there are many reasons for people going missing, and that going missing can be very different depending on the culture of the missing people and their community  
  • Emphasising that anyone, of any age, can come to harm while missing  
  • Discussing how to work with journalists to ensure that the views of the family or missing person are considered fully, particularly if they do not want any media coverage, and to make sure anyone affected is treated with sensitivity and care.  
  • Discussing journalists working with families of a missing person, when a family dispute etc could have been one of the reasons someone felt they had to go  
  • The need to ensure journalists understand how nuanced the cause of going missing can be and to make sure they are being as thoughtful and open-minded as possible  
  • Including guidance about what journalists can do if a family directly approaches them, as opposed to the other way round  
  • The need to include details of support, or to give sightings, in coverage  
  • Considerations about social media  

Media guidance is in early stages, so feedback will be factored into new drafts before the charity consults journalists. Families with a missing loved one have also been consulted on the guidance.  

Want to know more or join the LEAF?  

The next group will be held in the autumn of 2023. If you have experience of being missing or away and are interested in joining the group, please either visit this webpage or e-mail Jane Hunter at jane.hunter@missingpeople.org.uk. 

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