Article by Fabafterfifty
With Christmas seen as the season for spending time with family and friends, it is easy to forget those who spend Christmas without the company of loved ones. Not only those who have suffered relationship breakdown or bereavement, but those whose family members are registered as ‘missing’, with no closure, and the hope that this Christmas may be the day when they receive that much longed for phone call to say’ Mum, it’s me and I’m safe’.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) defines a missing person as: “anyone whose whereabouts is unknown whatever the circumstances of disappearance. They will be considered missing until located and their well-being or otherwise established”. (ACPO, 2005: 8).
Of the approximately 200,000 missing persons reported in the UK each year, 99% of cases are resolved within one year. A large majority of missing person cases are resolved very quickly, and most missing people are located. Around 0.6 per cent of missing person cases are resolved when the missing person is found to have died. But what about the 1% that aren’t resolved? What is the impact on the family?
Families of missing persons are left desperately looking to find the truth about what happened. Not a day goes by without them thinking and wondering about what might have happened to them. Who wouldn’t follow every lead, drop leaflets at every available location in the hope that their son, daughter, grandchild, sibling, partner might be found or at least find a clue as to what might have happened.
Nicki Durbin’s son Luke disappeared without trace in Suffolk in May 2006. She has no more idea today about what happened to her son than she knew more than 4 years ago, but has campaigned relentlessly to find more information. ( www.findluke.com ) She cannot rest until either Luke or his remains are found. Nicki has also campaigned tirelessly to give the families of missing persons the same rights as those of victims of crime.
Spare a thought this Christmas for those with an empty chair at the dinner table just hoping that it will be filled or at least have some news of that missing family member.
If you are coping with the disappearance of a loved one www.Missingpeople.org.uk is an excellent site for support and information.