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Missing People

Someone will be reported missing EVERY 90 SECONDS

Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK

180,000 people are reported missing every year

There are 340,000 reported missing incidents every year

Children are more likely to be reported missing than adults: 1 in 200 children goes missing each year; 1 in every 500 adults goes missing every year

How many people go missing each year?

  • Missing people: of the 180,000 people reported missing over 95,000 are adults and over 80,000 are children
  • Missing incidents: of the 340,000 reported incidents over 125,000 incidents are adults and over 210,000 incidents are children
  • Looked after children are at high risk of being reported missing. 1 in 10 looked after children are reported missing each year compared to 1 in 200 total children. Looked after children who are reported missing will be reported on average 6 times.

What is ‘missing’?

I watched a news item on News 5 a few weeks ago now and was so saddened by the statistics of Missing People in the UK, not just adults but the rising figure of children who also disappear. The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s definition for missing is: ‘Anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the person may be subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another’.

When I was a child which is a long time ago now (even though my 14-year-old son seems to think I was born at 47 years), there was no real communication to be had between myself and my parents and when we went out, we weren’t really contactable. So, it seems so tragic that these stats are as huge as they are. I am not suggesting that phones make all the difference but with how different the world seems to have gotten in my 47 years it seems so sad to me that people go missing and are just not found.

Missing People UK however is a charity run organisation who are doing everything they can to provide information for the build-up to this happening or indeed once someone has not returned home to family, friends or indeed colleagues at work.

Why do children and young people go missing?

There are a wide range of reasons why adults and children go missing, with varying levels of intentionality, and often more than one cause. The charity is keen to enhance understanding of these factors further, which will require further research.

Among the most common reasons for children to be missing are:

  • Conflict, abuse and neglect at home: more than half of missing children have experienced this and 1 in 5 children felt forced to leave
  • Sexual exploitation: 7 in 10 young people who have been sexually exploited have also been reported missing
  • Mental health issues: at least 1 in 10 missing children
  • The most common issues raised in conversations with the children contacting our helpline are (in order of commonality):
  • Problems at home
  • Abuse, domestic violence or child sexual exploitation
  • Mental health issues including risks of suicide or self-harm
  • Living in care

For further information and details on missing people please visit

FREEPOST Missing People,
284 Upper Richmond Road West,
London SW14 7JE

Tel: 020 8392 4590 / Fax: 020 8878 7752

Compiled by Sharon Hobday – courtesy of Missing People UK.