How to - File a Missing Persons Report
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
The charity Missing Abroad is dedicated to providing help, advice and practical support when someone goes missing overseas. Their advice is as follows:
Consider whether there are simple steps you can take to try and find where your loved one is. For example, if you know where they are staying, try calling to see if anyone on the premises knows where they are. If this does not produce any information, you could also try contacting the police or hospitals in or near the place where you know the person was staying or travelling. But a missing persons report cannot be filed until the person has been missing for over 24 hours.
If he or she does seem to be missing, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 020 7008 1500 and ask for the Consular Directorate. The Foreign Office will appoint a caseworker if appropriate and contact the British Embassy in the country concerned.
Contact the UK police either for the area where the missing person lives, or your own local police station, and ask them to inform the UK National Central Bureau of Interpol. If necessary, Interpol can then make contact with the relevant foreign police, although they will usually do so only if they consider the missing person to be at risk of harm.
What information should you provide when someone goes missing abroad?
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. If you have contacted Missing Abroad (see the contact details above), they can liaise with these organisations as appropriate and help and advise you as the search continues. Missing Abroad may also be able to help you in other ways including international travel, media, publicity and with any legal issues you might have; you may want to travel to the country concerned, for example, in which case it can arrange flights for you; it can also handle the media and arrange posters for publicity.
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 channeled 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
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.
Missing Abroad can’t help If you are trying to find someone abroad with whom you have lost contact over a period of time, you will be unable to get help from the police, the Foreign Office or the Missing Abroad charity, all of which will help only if someone has recently and unexpectedly gone missing overseas. Instead you might want to use a tracing service.
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.