How Missing People can help

A lifeline when someone disappears

If someone you know is missing, we're here for you, as long as it takes.

We know that it can be difficult for families with missing loved ones to find someone to talk to who understands their unique experience. Sometimes it can feel like other people seem to stop caring or don't know what to say. We will never stop caring.

Our caring and highly trained team can offer you and your family a range of free, confidential and non-judgemental support.


Call, text or email 116 000

Missing People's helpline is free, and availble 24/7. If a friend or relative has gone missing and you need support and advice call or text 116 000 or email

Confidentiality policy

Missing People is a confidential service and we cannot trace your calls. Please see our Confidentiality Policy.


We recognise that many people are affected when someone goes missing, and we support both the families and friends of missing people. Where the word ‘family’ is used on this website or at any time to describe the charity’s services, this also includes friends and loved ones.


Article Index

One way of raising awareness of a missing loved one is by using print and broadcast media to publicise their ‘missing’ appeal. Publicity can really help with the search for a missing person and can lead to them being found.

Our publicity

When someone is missing and considered vulnerable, our publicity appeals can help to gather vital information from the public. These appeals can also, on occasion, reach the missing person and encourage them to make contact. With the appropriate consent we can:

  • produce and circulate poster appeals
  • launch a dedicated appeal online, including Facebook and Twitter appeals and secure publicity appeals via our media partners and editorial features
  • handle sightings and information form the public 24 hours a day
  • encourage the missing person to contact us confidentially
  • text the missing person's mobile phone (if their number is known) with details of our helpline.

To access these services, please contact us on the helpline.

Working with the media

If you haven’t worked with the media before, it might seem a daunting thing to do. Missing People can help families communicate with national and local media in addition to securing web appeals, media slots and printed features about a missing person.

To help you we have produced a guide on how to get the most out of any interaction with the media, which you can download here.

Deciding to contact the media – where to start

Using the media may be the quickest and most effective way of raising awareness of your missing person and helping in the continuing search for him or her. It is important to decide whether this type of publicity will be the best thing for you and the person who is missing. You should consider the impact that it will have on your life and the wellbeing and safety of the missing person, both now, and when they return from being missing.

The thought of being asked probing and personal questions about your missing person may feel overwhelming. We are happy to offer advice to help you reach an informed decision.


The best way of making media coverage help you appeal for a missing person quickly and in the manner you want is to develop friendly relationships with journalists who want to interview you. It is important to maintain boundaries and not being persuaded into doing or saying anything you don’t want.

Our guidance sheet lists some tips about preparing for interviews and things you should consider before going to the press. The guidance sheet also contains some advice for families with missing loved ones planning interviews provided by ITV newsreader and journalist Julie Etchingham.

You can download the media guidance sheet here.

We are here to talk you through what you might expect and offer advice or support if you are planning an interview. The most important thing to remember is that you are in control – you can decide how much information to share, where and when interviews take place, and when they are over.

Keeping the search alive

We will maintain our appeal for information about your missing person for as long as you wish on our website, social networks and through poster campaigns.  If he or she has not been found within a few weeks, you may find that media interest declines. There are a number of strategies you can employ to ensure the media continues to publicise your missing person. Our guidance sheet outlines activities that you may wish to consider if you reach this stage.

Our guidance sheet comprehensively outlines what will happen before, during and after an interview and offers practical advice and checklists on what to prepare for and your rights during an interview. Remember that the Missing People helpline team is here to offer support on 116 000. Additionally, the Missing People Communications Team has extensive experience working with families with missing loved ones and journalists and is here to offer you advice and guidance. You can contact the Communications Team through the helpline or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can download the media guidance sheet here.

Internet safety 

When someone you know goes missing, you want to do everything you can to find them. The internet is usually the first port of call. Our guidance sheet, written in conjunction with a family member, can give you some tips for staying safe online. 

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