How to - File a Missing Persons Report in Spain
Hopefully a webpage that will not be needed by many, but if a relative or someone close to you goes missing your anxiety will be overwhelming; if they go missing in another country this can be even worse. Your concern about his or her personal safety and well being will probably be magnified by the uncertainty of how to start a search in a foreign country with a culture, language and system which may be different to your own. This webpage will help you with information as to who to contact to get a search started overseas, and what details you can provide to help in this.
What to Do
If a relative or friend goes missing abroad, this Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) guide will tell you what you can do and who to contact.
What you can do if someone goes missing abroad
- Consider when you were expecting contact from them
- Consider if their last communication might indicate where they are or why they have not contacted you
- If they use social media, consider if it has any information that can help to locate or contact them
- Contact anyone who may know their whereabouts, including friends or family of anyone travelling with them
If after doing this you are still concerned:
1. Report the missing person to the authorities in the country they went missing
Responsibility for searching in other countries rests with the local authorities where they went missing, usually the local police.
You should report the case to the authorities in that country. If you need advice on how to do this, you can contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 24/7 on 020 7008 5000.
In some countries, the process will be different to the UK, including the level of service. For example, they may not accept a missing person report until a certain amount of time has passed. In some countries, they will not accept a report in English so you may have to arrange and pay for a translation.
What information should you provide when filing a missing persons report in Spain
To help in the search it is a good idea to gather together as much information as you can about the missing person and their recent activity and travel plans as this could be essential in helping the relevant authorities to find them.
Take the following information or as much as you can with you to the police station:-
The missing person’s full name,
date of birth and place of birth
His/her mobile phone number and email address
The last time you or anyone else that you know had contact with him/her and where this was
His/her travel plans
His/her passport details
His/her travel insurance details
Any travel blog/personal website/social network details
Bank or building society account details (the police may ask the bank or building society for details of when and where the account was last accessed)
A recent photo
When you were expecting the missing person to contact you and why
Whether there was anything in his/her last email/phone call/text/blog/social network message which could give a clue as to whereabouts and/or who he/she could have been with
Whether the families of fellow travellers could provide any useful information
Whether there is anyone else the missing person could have been in touch with
Any other relevant information which could be of use in the search such including any physical or mental health issues.
The search The search will be carried out by the local police in the country where the person has gone missing, but the UK police, the Foreign Office, Interpol and the relevant British Embassy may also be involved depending on the nature of the disappearance.
sosdesaparecidos can also help
sosdesaparecidos is a non-profit association established in Caravaca de la Cruz - Murcia - in 2010 but which has been active since 2007 and collaborates in the dissemination of missing persons of any age, whose family members do not know what has happened or where find them.
- Information and help of any kind is offered to families that are looking for a missing person and there is no express communication of where they are.
- The demands that exist on disappearances are chanelled towards public and private institutions and organizations with competences to attend to these needs.
- Citizen solidarity is fostered through the dissemination of national and international alerts through the Internet, telephone networks and other means of publicity in order to help in the search for missing persons.
- Welfare and cooperation works are supported and promoted by the individual and collective voluntary associations.
- Institutional and legislative initiatives are promoted to better fulfill the purposes of solidarity and help to locate people who are missing from their home without a justified reason.
- Create and manage databases about Missing Persons.
- Encourages collaboration with search and rescue units.
- National Coordinator: Joaquín Amills 649,952,957
- 24-hour assistance phones : 649 952 957 642 650 775
Missing Persons Report, Spain Specialist help if the missing person is a child
If a child has gone missing whilst you are visiting another European Union country, you should contact both the UK police and the police local to where you are staying abroad.
You can also call the hotline number 116000 which can put you in contact with a charity in the country you are calling from which deals with missing children. This number does not operate throughout the whole of Europe, but should operate in Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
It also applies in the UK. If a child may have been abducted If you believe your child has been taken abroad without your consent, or your child is being kept in a foreign country following an overseas trip, you should contact the UK police and the Foreign Office (see contact details above).
There are also 3 other organisations which may be able to help you:
1. The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (‘ICACU’). This is part of the Official Solicitor’s office (a part of the Ministry of Justice) and is the central authority for international child abduction.
The ICACU can provide a leaflet with information and advice in relation to international child abduction and contact, and it also holds a referral list of specialist solicitors who may be able to help you.
3. Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT). This organisation campaigns, conducts research and helps to make policy to secure the better protection of children who are abducted.
Their website also contains advice on steps for parents to take if their child has been abducted to a Hague Convention country.
2. Report the missing person to the UK police
It can help if you file a missing person report with the local police in the UK as well as in the country they went missing. You can do this with the local police where you live, or where the missing person lives in the UK.
You should make a specific request that they inform the National Crime Agency’s Interpol bureau (or the SIRENE bureau if they went missing in the EU or EFTA), which can liaise with the police abroad.
UK police forces do not usually become involved in an investigation in another country. Even where they are ready to, they can only do this at the invitation of the authorities in that country.
3. Contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
You can contact the FCDO by phone 24/7 for help or advice from anywhere in the world by calling 020 7008 5000, or by contacting your nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. You do not have to wait to report the person missing to the FCDO.
Try to provide as much information as possible about the missing person, for example:
- name, date of birth and place of birth
- passport details, if known
- the last place, date and time you or anybody else had contact with them
- travel itinerary and who they are travelling with
- whether they have a medical condition
- mobile phone number, email address, social media account
- insurance details, if known
How the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can help
The FCDO can:
- check its consular records to see if it has had any recent contact with your relative or friend.
- give you information about the police or local authorities in the country they went missing so you can make a missing person report.
- liaise with the authorities in the country they went missing and keep you informed of their progress and pass on any requests they make to UK authorities.
- provide you with details of organisations specialising in missing persons, including the Lucie Blackman Trust, a UK charity that assists families whose relatives go missing in other countries. Please note, that as these are independent organisations, the FCDO cannot be held responsible in any way for their advice and/or any decisions and outcomes that result from this.
- If you decide to travel abroad to search for your relative or friend, staff at the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate can offer information on local conditions and help you arrange meetings with the local authorities and investigating agencies.
The FCDO cannot:
- search for the missing person.
- use public funds to try to find people missing abroad.
- offer legal advice or interfere in the legal proceedings of another country.
- pay your bills, including legal fees, translation services, travel or accommodation costs.
- control media coverage of the case.
- pay for a body to be returned to the UK.
- share information with you, if the person is found and does not give permission to share their information. You can see the FCDO’s privacy notice for consular services on how it handles personal data.
Additional things to consider for those missing abroad
The missing person’s bank, building society or internet service provider may be able to give you some information on when their account was last accessed. They may require official police intervention before agreeing to do this.
If you know the missing person’s mobile phone IMEI number (a unique 15 digit code associated with the phone handset), it can sometimes be used by police in other countries to block or locate the phone.
If you decide to travel to the region where your relative or friend went missing, have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve. Consider if language will be a problem, and if you will have to pay for a translator or interpreter.
Authorities in other countries may be reluctant to pass on information, or to treat your situation differently to that of other missing persons in their country. The FCDO or UK police cannot insist that they do.
You might want to initiate a poster, leaflet or social media campaign in the country where they went missing. The FCDO can provide information on organisations that have experience in tracing missing persons that can help you do this, and any local printing companies and locations where a poster can be placed.
Searches can sometimes be publicised through press conferences or TV appeals either in the UK or in the country where your relative or friend is missing. If you wish to do this abroad, the FCDO may be able to advise you on how to do this.
In some countries, it is possible to offer rewards for information. It is important to consider the implications of offering a reward. You may want to discuss this with an organisation that has experience in tracing missing persons.
Some insurance policies will cover search and rescue costs. If you have details of your friend of relative’s insurance, you can contact their insurer to check if this is possible.
Organisations that can provide advice and support
These organisations can offer assistance and information to families of missing people abroad. As independent organisations, the FCDO cannot be held responsible in any way for their advice and/or any decisions and outcomes that result from this.
Lucie Blackman Trust
A UK charity, formerly Missing Abroad, which supports families and friends of people who are missing abroad
A UK charity dedicated to help bring missing children and adults back to their families
Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB)
A UK charity working to reunite children and their families separated by international borders
Look 4 Them
A website with links to UK organisations that can help you find relatives in the UK and in other countries
Organisations that can help to trace family members
Missing Persons Family Tracing, the Salvation Army
Family tracing service.
British Red Cross
An international tracing and message service to help find missing relatives abroad if they have been separated by war, natural disaster or migration.
Whilst this information has been provided in good faith, it should not be taken as legal advice. For information tailored to your circumstances, please contact your police force, solicitor or an advisory organisation as appropriate to your query.