Statistics indicate that an Australian is reported missing every 15 minutes, but 95 per cent are located within six months.
ACT Policing investigates all reported missing persons where there are concerns for a person's welfare or safety.
Hundreds of people are reported missing every year in the ACT. Waiting for a contact or information for family and friends can be extremely distressing. Statistics indicate that for every person reported missing; approximately 12 people are directly affected, including family members, friends and work colleagues.
What is a missing person?
Any person, whether an adult or child, reported to police whose whereabouts are unknown and where any of the following conditions apply:
- Fears for their safety
- Concerns for their welfare
- Suspicious circumstances surrounding their disappearance
- A person deceased or living whose identity is unknown
ACT Policing Missing Persons team
The ACT Policing Missing Persons Team is part of the ACT Policing Operations and is located at the Winchester Police Centre.
The missing Persons Team is responsible for but not limited to:
- Assisting and advising members on missing persons enquiries
- Coordinating a central recording database of missing persons details
- Facilitating the referral of information relating to people reported missing in the ACT, and who are believed to have travelled interstate, to the appropriate interstate Missing Persons Unit
- Facilitating the referral of information relating to people reported missing interstate or overseas to the relevant Missing Persons Unit
- Promoting community projects and public awareness relating to missing persons
When to report a missing person
Research shows that many people believe they must wait 24 or 48 hours before they can report someone missing. This is not the case and ACT Policing urges people to report a missing person as soon as family or loved ones become concerned for the their welfare and their whereabouts are unknown.
How to report a missing person
Police take reports on persons missing in the ACT, interstate and overseas.
All details about missing persons are kept confidential and are not made available to the public unless permission has been granted by the family of the missing person and investigating officers.
To report a person missing, please contact ACT Policing by phone on 131 444 or visit a police station. It will help us if you are able to provide the following information:
- a recent photograph of the missing person
- where the person was last seen or heard from
- a list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of friends and associates
- likely destinations such as favourite places, work locations or places with past connections
- any medical requirements or medications they need
- a full description of the missing person including height, weight, colour of eyes and hair
- bank account details
Reporting information about missing persons
If you have any information about the whereabouts of a missing person please contact:
- ACT Policing Operations on 131 444; or
- The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre on 1800 000 634; or
- Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
All information received will be treated in confidence.
If you are reported as missing
Being reported as missing is not a crime. Our aim is to find out if you are safe and well.
If you have been reported missing it is vital that you contact police as soon as possible to ensure you are safe and well. The person reporting you missing will be advised that you are safe and well. Police will not divulge your whereabouts to any unauthorised person/s without your permission.
Please contact ACT Policing by phone on 131 444 or by visiting a police station. You can also make contact through one of the following organisations:
Before making the decision to leave and become a ‘missing person’ see if there is someone you can talk to and discuss any problems or difficulties you may be facing.
National Missing Persons Coordination Centre
The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) provides a national, coordinated approach to locating missing people.
The NMPCC works in partnership with police in all states and territories, the Australian and state governments, non-government agencies and the community help reduce the incidence of missing persons, to locate missing persons as quickly as possible and to provide support to the missing person, their family, friends and the community.
The NMPCC website lists cases of some missing persons where there is concern for their safety or welfare.