Mar 27, 2018

Missing Persons Research: The Most Recent Numbers

The Australian Federal Government last issued a major report in March 2008. This is in part due to there being no single service responsible for solving missing person cases. The Federal Police, the Salvation Army, and the Australian Red Cross all play their part. QLD Covert Investigations also assists when clients approach us for assistance. Hence, the joint release of missing persons research by the Federal Police and the Australian Institute of Criminology on 24 November 2016 was a welcome update.


Missing Persons Research Reveals Numbers Are Increasing

The annual rate of Australians going missing annually had been steady at around 30,000 for decades. However the demographic jumped to an average 38% during 2008 to 2015. The Institute released a complementary report in November 2016. This is one of the most insightful we have seen.

  • Friends and relatives lodged 305,268 missing person reports with the Australian Federal Police between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015. The worst year was 2012 with 181 reports per 100,000 of population. By 2016, this had fallen back to 168.
  • Missing persons research data is inconsistent between states and territories. For example, South Australia and ACT include absconders in their returns. New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia tracked the national trend by peaking between 2011 and 2013.
  • However, missing person numbers declined in Tasmania and Northern Territory, while Victoria went in the opposite direction. Researchers are still unravelling the complex mix of socio and economic factors playing out.

Fascinating Age Demographics Behind the Numbers

Australian territories and states have different age demographic patterns, owing to young people moving to larger cities in search of rewarding careers. It is therefore unsurprising that three out of five missing person reports during the review period were for children or young persons aged under 18, excluding South Australia.

Young peoples aged between 13 and 17 were in the highest risk category. An alarming 9% were aged between 0 and 2 years, which is similar to reported missing adults. This pattern is a continuation of trends in 1995 to 1997, when young people and children accounted for two thirds of people mentioned in missing persons research. The Australian Institute of Criminology reports similar trends in the United States.

QLD Covert Investigations has a team of private investigators dedicated to finding missing persons. If you do not know where a loved one or a friend is contact us or call 1300 553 788 for advice. We will share our expertise and experience as seek for resolution.  https://www.qldcovertpi.com.au/missing-persons-australia

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