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A profile of missing persons in New South Wales

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith, ACT, Shaunagh Foy
11 December 2006 -

Shaunagh Foy


People who go missing come from every walk of life. Some choose to go missing because they have made a decision that they need to spend time away from their normal lives; others go missing involuntarily because of reasons beyond their control. The reasons for people going missing may be single or cumulative. Within a myriad of individual, family, institutional and global experiences, appropriate and timely investigative responses are required for each particular case. This research examines the differences between three categories of missing persons which could help identify risk factors and preventative strategies which can aid the police, in particular, in their assessment of missing person cases.


This study attempted to establish a profile of missing persons based on information contained within police records. Three types of missing person were examined; those missing because they had run away, suicided, or met with foul play. A sample of 357 solved missing person cases were analysed resulting in the identification of 26 variables. These variables reflected personal, behavioural, demographic, and event-related characteristics.

About the speaker

Dr Shaunagh Foy (Dip. App. Sc.; B.A. (Hons); Ph.D.) has recently completed research about missing persons as a part of her PhD in forensic psychology (Charles Sturt University). She has a strong interest in research methods as they relate to missing persons and data explorations as they are applied to forensic psychology more generally. She is currently involved in lecturing and research at Charles Sturt University. She is an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society, and a member of the Complex Open Systems Research Network (COSNet).

No paper available