Lost from the conversation: Missing people

Lost from the conversation: Missing people

Police Journal

And the role of Police media in shaping community awareness

Media as a public health messaging tool can shape community perception. In missing persons’ investigations Police utilise media to assist in location and recovery of absent people. This study, of Australian media in 2019, revealed that the statistical evidence of who goes missing, and returns, revealed that is not replicated in news articles. Content analysis of 2,400 media items highlighting a disconnect between statistical rate of return from being missing (up to 98%) and the media profiling those who return (17% of media articles including returned missing persons narratives). In addition, Police and family dominate media conversations paying minimal attention to the reasons why people vanish or including comment from those who return. Recommendations for Police media strategies, that include an accurate portrayal of the experiences of returned missing persons, as a public health tool, is required.

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