Missing People’s Support Partner Network

Wednesday, 3 January 2018 - 5:02pm

Each year approximately 250,000 people go missing in the UK and of those, many will experience homelessness at some point.

Guy in a hoody looking sad

That’s why we at Missing People – the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting missing people and their families – want to join forces with Homeless Link UK members.

The common factors behind homelessness and going missing are well established: relationship breakdown; conflict with parents; mental health problems and substance abuse are all issues that link the two. In Homeless Link’s 2015 study on youth homelessness, 47% of young people were reported to have become homeless after their parents/caregivers were no longer able, or willing, to accommodate them. In addition. Research by Shelter Scotland found that 84 percent of young homeless people (categorised as 16 – 24-year-olds) had “run away before the age of 16.”

As a charity, we not only help in the search for missing people, we also provide specialised support via our free confidential helpline to missing children and adults, as well as the friends and family they’ve left behind.

We’re here 24/7 for anyone that needs us, but we need help reaching and supporting those who do. 

So we‘ve created the Support Partner Network: a web of safeguarding agencies across the UK that we send targeted confidential briefings to, whenever a person goes missing in their area. We would be delighted to welcome as many Homeless Link UK members, who offer frontline services, to the Network as possible. In fact, many of you already are members.

Interested? Here’s all you’d have to do:

  • Display confidential Missing People briefings in areas away from services’ users and/or the public.
  • Only share briefings amongst staff and volunteers of your organisation.
  • That’s it!

Yes, that really is all you need to do. That’s because our briefings are designed purely to raise awareness that a vulnerable missing person may access your services. How you choose to interact with a missing person is entirely up to you, based on your own organisation’s guidelines – but here are some things you could also do: 

  • Contact our helpline to let us know the missing person is with you;
  • Tell the missing person about the services we provide and encourage them to contact us via our Freephone number: 116 000;  
  • Absolutely nothing. Honestly, that’s fine. It’s your call.

Join the Support Partner Network and the choice is yours. However, whenever needed, we can offer support to the missing person and/or your organisation over our 116 000 helpline which is free confidential and open 24/7. 

How can we help you and your clients?

There are many different ways that we can help depending on what support your client needs. For example:

  • Our message home service: we can pass a letter or message on to a loved one or friend.
  • Our lost contact service: if your client has been out of contact with their family for some time, we’ll try and trace a family member.  
  • Our three-way call service: if your client needs to speak to family, police, social services etc. we can support them as they make these calls.
  • Our advice service: we can reassure your client that they are not in trouble for going missing. It is every adult’s right to go missing – it is not a crime - and we can help explain your client’s rights on this and many other issues. If your client wants police or loved ones to stop searching for them, we can advise them, confidentially, on how to make this happen.

For more information on joining the Support Partner Network, or to sign up online, please visit our website. Alternatively, email the SPN team at spn@missingpeople.org.uk with any queries and we’ll get back to you asap. 

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Abigail Flanagan

Support Partner Network Volunteer

Abi is a Support Partner Network Volunteer at Missing People.