The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is providing Australians insight into the emotional pain faced by loved ones of missing persons, with a short film launched today marking the 30th anniversary of National Missing Persons Week (NMPW). The week will run from 5-11 August 2018.
AFP Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said he hoped the short film – which can be viewed on Facebook now – will give the community a window into the profound heartache caused by this issue, as well as the critical role they can play in supporting police.
“This film echoes the real life grief of so many Australians who live in constant uncertainty, not knowing if or when their loved one will come back,” DC Gaughan said.
The concept of the short film was inspired by the real impacts and challenges faced when someone goes missing. In particular, many families across Australia are living with ambiguous loss, holding onto physical ties and the hope that their missing loved one will return.
Eileen Fahey, whose son Anthony Fahey went missing in 2013, said the film’s narrative is similar to her own experience.
“While we are currently endeavouring to sell our house, it’s upsetting because what if Anthony comes home and someone else is living here? How will he find us, how will he feel, what will he do?” Ms Fahey said.
“I also worry that, if we sell, I won’t have the memories of him being in the house. I’m afraid that I’ll forget the image of him sitting at the end of the bench and the sound of his voice. It’s all tied up in the house – how can I leave it?”
DC Gaughan said that, as part of the 30th NMPW activities, the AFP and its state and territory counterparts are also profiling 30 long-term missing people from around the nation on social media and outdoor advertising.
“It’s important that we raise awareness of this issue, including the reasons why people go missing, the social and financial impacts, and how the community can get involved. This might mean taking an interest and sharing our social media posts, or sharing a photo of an outdoor advertisement. After all, the community is our eyes and ears in these cases, helping police find the many thousands of people who go missing each year.”
“If you recognise any of the missing people profiled this NMPW, or indeed any of the 2600 long-term missing persons on the Public Register at www.missingpersons.gov.au, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” DC Gaughan said. “You might just have a piece of information that could help bring them home.”
The AFP’s NMPW 2018 activities are coordinated through the agency’s National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC), with the short film created by Sydney-based creative firm Common Ventures.
NMPW is supported by the Outdoor Media Association.