There is almost nothing more gut-wrenching than stories of missing persons and the distress it causes families.
That’s why a Liberal Nationals Government will establish a dedicated Friends and Families of Missing Persons Unit to facilitate counselling and practical support to families and friends of missing people in Victoria.
This agency will be set up within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and Regulation (DJR) and will have a sole focus on helping and supporting family and friends of missing loved ones.
In Victoria, the number of people reported missing has jumped almost 50% over the past six years. Victoria Police figures reveal more than 10,000 people were reported missing in 2015, of which more than half were children.
Under a Liberal Nationals Government, a Friends and Families of Missing Persons Unit will provide important care and practical assistance like:
- Support, information, and referrals by phone, face-to-face or over email
- Support at different times during a missing person investigation in dealing with:
- media involvement
- coronial proceedings
- situations where the missing person is located
- Liaison with other service providers such as Police and the Coroner’s Court
- Provision of information and publications on missing persons’ issues, for example, information about search options and managing a missing person’s financial affairs
- Help understanding missing persons’ sector agencies
- Organisation of missing persons’ events including family forums and family support group meetings
- Community education about missing persons’ issues
- Clinical support and advice to other professionals regarding missing persons’ issues through referrals.
A similar unit has been set-up in the NSW Department of Justice which has been operating since 2000. As of 2011, the unit had helped over 400 families and responded to around 170 enquires per month.
This policy will provide four year funding at $300,000 a year to set up the unit at DJR.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:
“There are few things more distressing than families and friends who have loved ones missing.
Supporting and helping those family and friends with the distress they are feeling is something we think is incredibly important on top of giving police the resources they need to find their loved ones.”
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Families and Children, Georgie Crozier:
“We believe this dedicated unit will help make a small but very important difference to the lives of the family and friends of a missing loved one.”
Comments attributable to Shadow Attorney-General, John Pesutto:
“Too often Daniel Andrews and Labor seem more worried about the rights of criminals.
A Liberal Nationals Government will have a total focus on looking after family and friends of missing persons and victims of crime.”