Coming Together

The Fourth International Conference on Missing Children and Adults

3rd-5th July 2019

University of Liverpool

Welcome to the webpage for the 4th International Conference on Missing Children and Adults. 

The conference was organised by the School of Psychology, University of Liverpool, partnered with the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at Portsmouth University and sponsored by WPC Software and the UK Missing Person’s Unit.

We would like to thank everyone who helped to make the conference a success.  Please see below for presentation slides and other content.

Dr Freya O’Brien and Dr Susan Giles

Conference co-chairs

Day One: Wednesday 3 July 2019

Plenary Session 1: Families’ experiences of missing (Lecture Theatre B)

‘An all-consuming cumulonimbus of pain’: Identifying best practice support interventions for those living with loss when someone is missing – Sarah Wayland (University of Sydney, Australia) Presentation Slides

Social world of families of missing persons - a snapshot of Polish research – Aneta Urbaniak (University of Wrocław, Poland) Presentation Slides

Boko Haram insurgency: The agony of the families of the missing persons in Goza, Northern Nigeria - Habibu Hayatu Babajo (FCT College of Education, Zuba-Abuja, Nigeria) Presentation Slides

Family experiences of child criminal exploitation, including county lines – Jane Hunter (Missing People, UK) Presentation Slides


Day Two: Thursday 4 July 2019

Session 1: Coming to harm whilst missing

(Lecture Theatre B)

Session 2: Forensic identification (Lecture Theatre C)

  1. Predicting harm in missing children and adults – Freya O’Brien & Susan Giles (University of Liverpool, UK) Presentation Slides
  2. Suicides and missing persons in the UK – Galit Draizin-Itzhaki (Centre for the study of Missing Persons, University of Portsmouth, UK, & Israel) Presentation Slides
  3. Distinguishing suicides of persons reported missing to police from those not reported missing – Penny Woolnough (Abertay University, UK) Presentation Slides
  1. Ante- mortem (AM) dental data: A police guide to aid missing persons investigations – Claire Sallis (University of Dundee, UK)
  2. Application of conditions for machine-based face recognition – Jessica Liu (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)
  3. Identifying missing persons: The value of disguise - Charlie Frowd, University of Central Lancashire, UK) Presentation Slides
  4. Effectiveness of missing children photograph appeals: Exploring the effects of appeal frequency and short identification delay - Daniel Hunt (University of Huddersfield, UK) Presentation Slides

Session 3: Missing with dementia (Lecture Theatre B)

 Session 4: Publicity appeals (Lecture Theatre C)

  1. Walking interviews with people with dementia: Experiences of going out, navigating and getting lost - Katie Gambier-Ross (University of Edinburgh, UK) Presentation Slides
  2. People with dementia who go missing: A qualitative study of family care-givers’ decision to report incidents to the police – Karen Shalev Greene, University of Portsmouth, UK)
  3. Purple Alert: How the community can help when a person with dementia is missing – Tommy Petillo (Alzheimer Scotland, UK) Presentation Slides
  4. Development of a best practice guideline for police in search for missing older adults with dementia – Noelannah Neubauer (University of Alberta, Canada) Presentation Slides
  1. What features impact engagement with missing people appeals on Twitter? - Reka Solymosi & Oana Petcu (University of Manchester, UK)
  2. The paradox of social media-based publicity appeals for missing persons: Who are we appealing to? - Simona Ciobotaru (University of Portsmouth, UK) Presentation Slides
  3. ChildRescue: Α collective awareness platform for missing children investigation and rescue – Ariadni Michalitsi-Psarrou & Christos Ntanos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) Presentation Slides

Session 5: The nature of repeat missing cases (Lecture Theatre B)

Session 6: Investigative perspectives and challenges (Lecture Theatre C)

  1. Repeat missing adults: Incidences and characteristics – Claire Taylor (Abertay University, UK) Presentation Slides
  2. Missing children: Risks, repeats and responses – Laura Boulton (University of Central Lancashire, UK) Presentation Slides
  3. Multiple missing: Behavioural consistencies in repeat missing adults - Claire Taylor (Abertay University, UK) Presentation Slides
  4. Identifying risk factors of/and protective factors from going missing repeatedly using return to home interview data – Jessica Phoenix (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
  1. Procedural justice and legitimacy in missing persons police work – Amy Humphrey (University of Dundee, UK)
  2. Processes and challenges in online grooming investigations: Development of the TOG toolkit for front line officers and staff – Susan Giles (University of Liverpool, UK) Presentation Slides
  3. Developing and testing a self-administered interview for missing persons – Penny Woolnough (Abertay University, UK) & Joe Apps, MBE (UK Missing Persons Unit) Presentation Slides
  4. Well-being of police officers and staff: Dealing with missing person cases - Karen Shalev Greene (University of Portsmouth, UK)


Day Three: Friday 5 July 2019

Plenary Session 4: The voice of a child in international child abduction cases (Lecture Theatre B)

Discussant: Dr Ruth Lamont (University of Manchester, UK)

The wellbeing of children in cases of international child abduction - Hilde Demarré (Missing Children Europe, Belgium) Presentation Slides

The best interests of the child in international child abduction proceedings -Thalia Kruger (University of Antwerp, Belgium) Presentation Slides

Resiliency in families with a child who have been involved in an international parental abduction - Hilde Demarré (Missing Children Europe, Belgium)

Session 7: Learning from those who have gone missing (Lecture Theatre B)

Session 8: Search and rescue (Lecture Theatre C)

  1. How can a good ending be used for prevention? – Rebecca Stenberg (Linköping University, Sweden) & Maria Wolmesjö (University of Borås, Sweden) Presentation Slides
  2. Supporting children and adults on their return from missing – Rachel Ellis & Josie Allan (Missing People, UK)
  3. ‘The first step’: A study of ‘return home interview’ provision in England and Wales – Iryna Pona, Hannah Chetwynd & Phil Raws (The Children’s Society, UK)
  1. Gender differences in the journey to suicide – Catherine Stevens (University of Liverpool, UK) Presentation Slides
  2. Search Dog Heroes: A unique response to vulnerable missing persons – Simon Read (Lowland Rescue) & Charlie Hedges, MBE (Charlie Hedges Advisory) Presentation Slides
  3. "For those in peril on the sea": An examination of the UK Search and Rescue framework on sea and in inland waters – David Pritchard (University of Portsmouth, UK)


Session 9: Prevalence and characteristics of types of missing cases (Lecture Theatre B)

Session 10: Symposium -

A decade of research on prospective person memory in missing persons cases: Where we've been, where we stand, and where we are going (Lecture Theatre C)

Discussant: Dr Karen Shalev Green (University of Portsmouth, UK)

  1. Still in harm’s way: The scale of trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing in the UK – Jane Hunter (Missing People, UK)
  2. Modus operandi of stranger child abductors: Comparing attempted and completed cases – Craig Collie (University of Portsmouth, UK) Presentation Slides
  3. The prevalence of long- term, suspicious missing person cases classified as unsolved murders – Kirsty Bennett (University of Huddersfield, UK) Presentation Slides
  4. Behavioural themes in Spanish missing person cases: An empirical approach - Néstor García Barceló (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain) & Rosa María Tourís López (Ministry of Interior, Spain). Presentation Slides
  1. What did you expect? Stereotypes and preconceptions influence prospective person memory for missing persons - James Lampinen, University of Arkansas, USA) Presentation Slides
  2. Attention and memory in missing person alert systems - Kara Moore (Oklahoma State University, USA)
  3. Selection and presentation of photographs in missing person appeals - Stefana Juncu (University of Portsmouth, UK)