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The Salvos help to reconnect missing persons

Major Phia Gibb, Ita Buttrose and Major Kelvin AlleyMedia Release

Some 35,000 Australians are reported missing annually - that’s one person every 15 minutes. This week is National Missing Persons Week and The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service has been actively working to reunite missing people with their families for over 125 years. 

The Australian Federal Police’s National Missing Persons Week this year focuses on the links between dementia and missing persons. Dementia sufferers are statistically more likely to become missing. The Salvation Army is joining with the Australian Federal Police to raise community awareness about this, encouraging Australians to be aware of the signs and symptoms. 

Symptoms that may cause someone with dementia to go missing include forgetting well-known people or places, an inability to process questions or instructions, and emotional unpredictability. 

487 new missing persons cases have been opened in the past 12 months by The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service across Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory with a 68 per cent success rate of finding missing family and friends.

“We need to be aware of those around us, such as our neighbours who are ageing,” says Major Phia Gibb, Director of The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service.

“One in 15 people over the age of 65 have dementia and this is only increasing so the more we can help those who are vulnerable around us the better.”For more than 125 years The Salvation Army has been working to assist people in finding missing family members.

“We do this by checking databases across the 125 countries where The Salvation Army operates, calling home shelters and rehabilitation clinics…we’ve visited potential leads, written letters to entire neighbourhoods and petitioned TV shows, governments and emergency services,” says Major Gibb.

For more information about The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service visit salvationarmy.org.au/familytracing 

If you have information regarding a missing person, would like to report a missing person or want to find out more about the signs and symptoms of missing people visit missingpersons.gov.au

For further information or media comment please contact:
Dr Bruce Redman– Territorial Media Relations Director 
The Salvation Army – Australia Southern Territory (Vic., SA, Tas., WA & NT)
Tel: 03 8878 2448
Mob: 0417 537 950
Email: bruce.redman@aus.salvationarmy.org

Image:  Major Phia Gibb (Salvation Army Family Tracing Director), Ita Buttrose (Ambassador for Alzheimer's Australia) and The Salvation Army's Major Kelvin Alley at  the Australian Federal Police National Missing Persons Week in Canberra.