Enhanced support for families and those at risk.
Improving the help available for families of missing people and those who may be at risk is the focus of a new £70,000 investment from the Scottish Government.
The funding will be used to establish a national development coordinator who will work closely with local authorities to improve how they and other organisations work together to support vulnerable people and help prevent individuals from going missing.
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham has also confirmed the formation of an independent Working Group for Missing People to support the delivery of Scotland’s National Missing Persons Framework.
Around 23,000 missing persons investigations are undertaken by Police Scotland every year and this latest funding takes the Scottish Government’s total investment in support for missing people, their families and those at risk of going missing to more than £360,000 since 2016.
Ms Denham said:
“Families and friends of those who go missing face a huge trauma, particularly when their loved-one remains missing long term.
“The majority of missing people are returned safely within a couple of days but we must continue to improve how we safeguard and support the most vulnerable in Scotland.
“The work of our new national development coordinator and working group will build on recent progress and enhance multi-agency working to improve outcomes for missing people and their families.”
Professor Hester Parr, who will chair the Working Group, said:
“I am pleased to have been asked by Minister Ash Denham to chair a new 'Working Group for Missing People in Scotland'. This group is comprised of expert professionals with special insights into the complex social and spatial issue of missing persons.
“The Working Group will assess the national impact of the National Framework for Missing People in Scotland to identify best practice in Scotland and the gaps which still exist in the provision of professional services to help missing people and their families.
“There is a pressing need to make the ambitions in the Framework a reality and act as more than a symbolic document. This will ensure Scotland remains an international leader in terms of support for missing people.”
Susannah Drury of the Missing People charity said:
“Every day, around 55 children and adults are reported missing in Scotland. While missing, these people are at higher risk of coming to harm, and their families are plunged into a terrifying limbo, not knowing whether their loved one is safe.
“It is vital that every one of these people receives the response and support they need, wherever they live. So, Missing People is grateful for the funding from the Scottish Government to recruit a new national development coordinator who, guided by the new Independent Working Group, will help local partners across Scotland work together to make missing people safe and provide the help their families need.”
In 2017/18, 64% of Police Scotland missing persons investigations related to a missing child or young person.
The Scottish Government have committed £192,000 to the Missing People charity (2016-20). A further £40,000 has been invested in the development of an education resource and this follows £60,000 of funding in 2018 to develop and deliver training for staff who support those who have returned to their families after a period of being missing. The purpose of this is to help better understand the reasons an individual went missing and what support can be given to avoid repeat episodes.
The National Missing Persons Framework, launched in May 2017, is the first of its kind in Scotland follows calls for a national coordinated approach and setting out roles and responsibilities of respective agencies.
In 2017-18, a total of 22,966 missing persons investigations were conducted by Police Scotland. Due to the dedication of Police Scotland and other front-line agencies, the individuals were returned safely in 99% of cases. The working group brings together representatives and expertise from Police Scotland, Shelter Scotland, Missing People UK, University of Glasgow and local authorities.
Contact: Richard Clarke - 0131 244 3069 / 07467 447 253