We are partnering with Trainline to create a geo-targeted missing person appeal alert system, in a bid to bring missing individuals back to safety.
The pioneering new initiative has the potential to reach millions of members of the public via the Trainline app and works by displaying images of people who have gone missing in the vicinity, as well as information on the steps to take if you suspect you have seen a missing person, or have information on their whereabouts.
We see this campaign as a two-pronged approach, raising awareness of missing appeals but also as a preventative campaign. We hope that with the increased visibility of our charity, we will grow public awareness of the cause and guide the public to our helpline services if they need support in their moment of crisis.
The campaign was launched this month, with an announcement video from Kevin Gosden, who’s son, Andrew, went missing over 15 years ago after he took a train to King’s Cross in London. The first appeal to be featured will be Andrew Gosden on the app and on JCDecaux billboards in Network Rail Stations in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, and Manchester.
Speaking about the partnership, Andrew’s father Kevin Gosden said: “It’s so important to have these appeals out there. You never know when someone might remember something, or may have seen a missing person. It’s also important to know that there is help for anyone considering disappearing, including support that may help people take the step to return home, or think twice before leaving in the first place.”
“If this had existed back in 2007, Andrew’s image could have been displayed to thousands of members of the public in the area where he went missing. Anything that can help to raise awareness of Andrew, and the appeals for any missing person, is vital in keeping the search active and ensuring people are continuing to keep a look out for those who are missing”.
The transport industry and Missing People are very closely linked. Train and bus stations can serve as both safe havens and one-way tickets away from a person’s current situation. We are aware that these transportation hubs attract missing children and adults in search of shelter, food, and free Wi-Fi access. These places are also where people often go when they are at their lowest point, having reached rock bottom.
The level of risk faced by missing individuals is on the rise. Almost a thousand people die while missing each year, a number that has been increasing at an alarming rate and exceeds the number of people who die from homicides. In the 2020/21 period, Network Rail reported 247 suicides or suspected suicides on the overground rail network, averaging one suicide every 35 hours.
“Someone going missing is a crisis. The main factors for adults are mental health problems and financial uncertainty. Missing People is concerned about the effect of the growing pressures on people over this winter. The charity is gearing up to take more contacts to our Helpline.
When someone vulnerable has disappeared, they can often use the transport network as a safe place. Missing People is so proud to be working with Trainline to raise awareness of individual disappearances. Together, we hope to raise awareness and potentially help find missing people. For the loved ones of those featured, knowing that action is being taken to find them, helps to keep hope alive.”
– Paul Joseph, Head of Helplines at Missing People
This new campaign will help our new strategy – From Crisis to Hope. People disappearing is a huge social issue. Almost 170,000 children and adults are reported missing to the police every year. Many more than once – which means someone is reported missing every 90 seconds. However, this doesn’t account for underreporting where people who go missing are not reported to local authorities, meaning the actual number could be higher.
Huge numbers of missing people come to serious harm while missing, as victims of crime and exploitation, self-harm and suicide. Over 1,000 people die while missing each year. That’s three people every day. That number has been increasing at an alarming rate.
This partnership aligns with our key goals:
Working with Trainline we hope to make a step change by amplifying awareness of the cause and help more people to find the charity’s support.