• Print this page

The Salvos reuniting families & friends for 125 years

Every day, The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service actively works to reunite missing people with their families, locating an average of six people each day.

This week is National Missing Persons Week and The Salvation Army is joining with the Australia Federal Police to raise community awareness about the links between mental illness and missing people.

35,000 people are reported missing in Australia each year – that’s one person every 15 minutes.

95% are usually found within a week but there remain 1,600 long term missing persons who have been missing for more than six months. 20,000 of these missing people are under 18.

821 new missing persons cases have been opened in the last 12 months by The Salvation Army in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory with a 75% success rate finding missing family and friends.  

This year Australians are being encouraged to ‘learn to see the signs’ before someone goes missing.

Missing Persons Week 2013


Phia Gibb from The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service recently gave an interview with Open House - a Sunday night talk program hosted by Leigh Hatcher that explores life, faith and culture.

Listen to the interview

“Under the umbrella of mental illness – these signs include depression, withdrawal from work and the cutting off social ties,” says Major Phia Gibb, Director of The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service.   

“Many times a person with a mental illness just gets up and goes, and families often don’t know how to deal with that kind of abrupt shock,” she says.

Another common reason that people come to the Salvos with a missing persons enquiry stems from the death of a parent and the loss of contact with family that follows.

Major Gibb remembers one recent story in particular. A charity group approached the service with an enquiry about a homeless man who had been found deceased.

“They asked if we could look for the family so that there would be some people to attend a funeral,” said Major Gibb.

“A day before the funeral we found the family – 3 siblings and a mother. They were so thankful that they had the opportunity to say goodbye.”

For more information on The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service, click here

If you have information regarding a missing person or would like to report a missing person click here.