Exploring the impact of missing people

Academics, practitioners and policy makers from around the world will come together to explore the full range of issues around why people go missing at an international conference, co-organised by the University of Portsmouth.

The University’s Centre for the Study of Missing Persons helped to organise the third International Conference on Missing Children and Adults, to be held at Abertay University in Dundee from 14 to 16 June.

Dr Karen Shalev-Green

Dr Karen Shalev-Green

Dr Karen Shalev-Green, Director of the Centre, said: “The conference is a unique opportunity for practitioners and academics from around the world to come together and learn about new areas of research and practice. It will allow us to develop a more unified approach that will help those who go missing and their families.”

Speaking ahead of her keynote speech Dr Susan Hitchin, an Interpol specialist, has said it is “vital” that more effective mechanisms are put in place to compare missing persons’ data on an international level as terror attacks increase.

Dr Hitchin said the “increasing occurrence” of terrorist incidents on a global level, coupled with an upturn in migration and ease of travel, meant the role that data analysis has to play is more important than ever.

“All countries have unsolved missing person investigations,” she said. “There is also an increasing number of human remains being found that are not from their country of origin making it an impossible task to identify nationally.

“It is estimated that over 600 people worldwide go missing every day and whilst many of these people are located alive, sadly many are also never found.

“Consequently, with the increasing occurrence of transnational crime, including terrorist attacks, the ease of international travel and the increase in global migration, it is vital that more effective international mechanisms are in place to allow missing persons’ data to be compared globally.

“Interpol, as the world’s largest police organisation is uniquely positioned as an information hub that aids police with their international missing person cases.”

Dame Sue Black, Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee, will be the other keynote speaker at the conference at Abertay.

She said the impact of being ‘missing’ is profound both on those who have gone and for those who are left behind.

“We often forget that it also leaves a lasting impression on those whose job it is to search for the missing and in the worst case scenario, confirm their identity,” Dame Sue said.

“This conference is a tremendous opportunity for the community to come together to learn, to share and to understand.”

Delegates are expected from the likes of Hong Kong, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, Belgium and the US for the event, which is organised in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and Police Scotland and sponsored by WPC Software

The conference comes to Scotland for the first time, having previously been held in Brussels and Portsmouth.

For more information visit https://www.abertay.ac.uk/research/society/conference-missing-children-and-adults/


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