The Commission’s Executive Director, Bob Van-Kempen represented the Commissioner at the launch of National Missing Person’s Week in Brisbane. Unfortunately, far too many young people nationally and in Queensland go missing each year which is why the Commission is keen for the messages of the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (an Australian Federal Police (AFP) funded organisation) to be heard.
A particular concern for the Commission is that the AFP advises (via the Talking Works website) that 20,000 young Australians under the age of 18 are reported missing each year). People including young people with mental health issues and the aged are also common types in the over 35,000 people reported missing each year one person every 15 minutes.
The theme for the 2011 week is "When someone goes missing, more than one person is lost". A key message from the launch was that "for every person reported missing approximately 12 people are directly affected, including family members, friends and work colleagues".
While 95 per cent of missing persons are found within a short period of time (99.7% in Queensland), there are currently 1600 longterm missing persons from all jurisdictions (people who have been missing for more than six months).
Acting Police Commissioner in Queensland, Mr Ian Stewart said that our state’s dedicated missing persons unit was operating in partnership with 1800Reverse to target "youth runaways", as the reverse charge system is most often used by 13-17 year old young people.
A media advertising campaign is being screened to dispel a common myth that you have to wait 24 hours before reporting someone as missing. The campaign will stress that if someone’s whereabouts are unknown and there are fears for their safety, police should be alerted immediately.
Sadly, the financial cost of searching for missing people is estimated at $100 million a year, in addition to the efforts made by families themselves.
Last Updated: August 2, 2011