A cartoon image of a crowd holding photos of missing loved ones

Many people go missing every year, causing great distress to families, friends and loved ones. Collating data that will help better understand the way states engage with, and seek to solve, missing persons cases will be of great help to those involved in missing persons efforts.

In collaboration with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), an academic and student team from Bournemouth University is developing comprehensive data on how states deal with missing person cases. 

Developing understanding of missing persons approaches globally

The Missing Persons Indicator Project is designed to progressively develop comprehensive data on states and their relationship with missing persons. 

Logo for the Missing Persons Indicator Project

This includes continuous institutional mapping of legal avenues and mechanisms globally to address the issue of the missing, to respond to missing persons reports and to effectively investigate persons going missing or disappearing. 

Data visualisation offers important overviews, facilitates comparison and captures trends.

At present, the team are researching structural indicators - examining the legal, regularity and institutional structures in place. A state who has signed and ratified a human rights treaty has expressed commitment to a certain set of human rights (Klinkner, 2021)

Our structural indicator 1 captures a state’s recognition of Missing Persons and associated rights at international and regional level.

A student-driven project

Two of the student researchers working on the missing persons indicator project Hayden and Lydia, two of the student researchers working on the project

A diverse, international, inclusive group of student researchers has been assembled through an application, shortlisting and interviewing process.

Training on research techniques, integrity and validity of research and data storage is provided by a team comprising law subject librarian, data expert and legal scholars.

Supported by MS Teams, a designated space on campus facilitates on-hand support to guide and direct the students.

BU students interested in taking part in the Missing Persons Indicator Project can download and complete the application form.

Hayden Corby

Law student

As a first-year law student, I am proud to be a part of this project. It guided me in broadening my research abilities, allowing me to support ICMP's mission of finding missing people.

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