Internationally, thousands of men, women, children and adolescents are reported missing daily. While the majority are located shortly after their disappearance, many people remain missing and untraceable. For the families and loved ones of those missing, the unremitting feelings of heartbreak, frustration and loss last weeks, months and in some cases many years. The general public’s assistance particularly during the early stages of a missing persons report is invaluable.

Why do people go missing and who are they

There is no single stereotype of a missing person. Infants, elders, youth and adults from diverse backgrounds go missing for a variety of reasons. The motives behind disappearances can range considerably. While many cases can revolve around personal circumstances, some can involve more sinister or illegal activity.

Commonly reported motives include:

How many people are missing?

It is impossible to offer accurate combined international statistics due in part to differences in data collection and classification procedures. An overview from different countries and international organizations are offered below along with links to support services and additional resources. Most of these links include details of how the general public can help and keep informed of missing persons in their jurisdiction:

According to the most recent statistics, over 8,000 people were reported missing in Ireland in 2010. 69 of these people remain untraced.

United Kingdom
Every five minutes a child goes missing in the United Kingdom. Over 200,000 people are reported missing in the UK each year.

United States
Approximately 2,000 children are reported missing daily in the United States. More than 700,000 people are reported missing yearly.

One person every 15 minutes goes missing in Australia with approximately 35,000 reports each year. Of those, a significant number (approximately 20,000) involve those under the age of 18 years.

New Zealand
Each year the New Zealand Police receive between 8,000 and 12,000 reports relating to Missing Persons. There are currently 300 outstanding or long term (over 12 months) missing persons in New Zealand.

South Africa
Accurate statistics on missing adults in South Africa could not be located however; over 1,000 children are reported missing each year in this country.

For further information and contact details of support services, please click here

The importance of early intervention and continued support

An effective and swift response during the early stages of a missing person’s case is crucial. Disseminating and sharing information about the person, the setting and the circumstances may assist in the safe return or location of the person. Early intervention is particularly important in cases involving young or vulnerable people (For example: under 18 or over 65 years; mental or physical health problems; substance abuse issues; out of character to disappear; recent increased stress). The longer a vulnerable person remains missing, the more likely they are to be at risk of harm or exploitation. The general public’s assistance during the early stages of a report as well continued support throughout, is critical and invaluable.

How you can help

Creating and being part of a large international community that shares vital information about missing persons is crucial. While systems similar to AMBER ALERT ( in the United States have been established with successful results in parts of Europe, more needs to be done to help share information about missing adults and children that crosses borders as well as countries.

Socialaterme is a new initiative established by Steve Sam Gannon that attempts to address these current limitations. The system highlights how the quick dissemination of information can be achieved through the involvement of and cooperation from the general public. While a UK-based system at present, steps are currently being taken to establish socialalertme as an international alert method. For further details about how you become involved, please see below.


Socialalertme aka SAM is new unique way to help the missing people all over the World.

The SAM Alert’s are issued directly to the area of the missing incident within seconds of being submitted.

Socialalertme are working with UK Police force to link the system to theirs, so the force can issue the SAM Alert, making the system even more effective.

By registering with SAM you become part of an invaluable network of users aiming to help find Missing Children and Adults NATIONWIDE.

The ALERT is issued to ALL registered users who live within a 50 Miles radius of the Missing Persons last known whereabouts.

*This is based on your postal code at the time of registration.
**Before a SAM ALERT is issued it is sent for verification and approval. The Alert will be LIVE and ACTIVE at the earliest opportunity. We liaise regularly with direct family members whenever possible to keep all information up-to-date and relevant.

All Missing persons cases are cross-referenced with available information from Police Press Releases whenever possible.
We DO NOT release unconfirmed information so as not to cause unnecessary upset or confusion.
Circulate an ALERT by sharing with your friends, family, workmates and neighbours to help raise awareness.

Connect directly to Facebook and Twitter via SAM by clicking on the Facebook and Twitter icons on our ‘Alerts’ page.

Submit an ALERT - If you have a Missing Child/Adult to report, take full advantage of the ability to use this FREE and invaluable resource to help find your loved one.