Creating awareness – for both the individuals and the issues – is one of two core functions of MPAN.
Initially, and understandably, the focus is very clearly on communicating the likeness and circumstances of the person reported missing. This should be done strategically; efficiently and in a manner that evokes the appropriate response whilst being mindful of preserving the reputation of the individual.
Once a disappearance becomes longer term, the importance of awareness broadens to include providing the public and policymakers insights into the administrative, legal, practical obstacles as well as the emotional and psychological torment experienced by the missing person’s loved ones. Naturally, sharing these experiences allows others in similar circumstances to feel understood, which fosters a sense of community and solidarity and can be a great comfort.
Another benefit of awareness — something unexpected that Loren learned through her experience of searching for her brother — is that it actually prompted others to seek support instead (of going missing). Sharing Dan’s story, and the impact his disappearance had on his loved ones, led to more positive outcomes than we know.
Awareness is critical in the context of Missing Persons, for increasing the likelihood of locating the missing individual, for highlighting challenges faced by those left behind and for preventing others vulnerable to going missing from disappearing.
Our recent awareness initiatives
MPAN acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work.