New Message Home service launched for Missing Persons
Many thousands of Missing Persons reports are received by Gardai each year, while no official statistics are available it is to be expected that some of these people will have run away or gone missing by personal choice. This can be for a variety of reasons including relationship breakdown, personal or financial problems, a desire to start a new life etc. It is not a crime to go missing and the Missing Persons Helpline respects the right of an individual to go and remain “missing”. However, for family and friends left behind there is often heartache, confusion and worry about what has happened.
Christmas is a special occasion for families, for some however it can be a particularly trying time with that empty chair at the dinner table and memories of happier times. At this time of year the Helpline usually issues its annual appeal for Missing Persons to get in touch with their families. We know that for the missing person returning home or getting in touch with their family is not always an option and so the Helpline has launched a “Message Home” service on Freefone 1800 911 999. The purpose of this service is to enable those who are currently listed as Missing in or from Ireland, to leave a message for their family to let them know they are alive and well. If the missing person is willing to speak with someone, they can call our Helpline number on 1890 442 552. However, if he/she would prefer to leave a voice mail they can do so, the Helpline will then act as an intermediary and pass the message along to the intended recipient.
This service is unique in Ireland, fully confidential and will operate 24/7, callers cannot be traced.
Commenting on the launch of Message Home, Dermot Browne, Chairman of Missing in Ireland Support Service, said “sometimes direct contact with those left behind is not possible because of the passage of time or regret for actions taken. As a support service we hope to bridge the communications gap and bring reassurance to those who worry about what has happened to their missing loved one” .
Helpline Co-ordinator Ciaran Casey confirmed that a similar service is in place in the UK but is based around direct contact with Helpline, “obviously we don’t have the same level of resources available to us and our service makes best use of todays technology. I deal with affected families on a daily basis and witness the pain and trauma that they are going through. This can now be helped with a single phone call to say I’m ok!”.