Liverpool to host International ‘missing people’ conference

In July, Liverpool will be hosting a number of police experts, academics, policy makers and those with a lived experience of missing from across the world at a prestigious international conference that will explore the issues around why people go missing.

‘Coming Together: The International Conference on Missing Children and Adults’ comes to Liverpool for the first time from 3-5 July 2019, having previously been held in Scotland, Brussels and Portsmouth.

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

Keynote speakers

The event aims to bring together those affected when people go missing, academics, practitioners, charities and policy-makers to explore and discuss the range of issues associated with being missing.

Registration for the event is open until Monday, 3 June 2019. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register before this date.

The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andrew Cooke QPM, Ann Coffey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, and the writer, musician and artist, Ju Blencowe have been confirmed as keynote speakers for the event, which will see delegates from all over the world in attendance.


Topics will include psychological distress in relatives of missing persons, missing people with dementia, the paradox of social media appeals, online grooming, the wellbeing of frontline staff, and human trafficking.

The full range of challenges associated with missing people will be analysed by those working in the sector, from those charged with responding to live cases to others affected by the concept of ‘missing’ in its broadest sense. The use of technology in missing person cases will also be explored.

International knowledge exchange

Dr Freya O’Brien, Conference co-chair and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Liverpool, said: “We are extremely proud and privileged to be hosting such an important event here in Liverpool. This event enables us to have those who have gone missing, their family and friends at the heart of our discussions. We need to listen and learn from those who actually have the experience so our research has impact in the real world, not just here across the UK but also internationally.

“The conference is vital as part of an international knowledge exchange on issues around missing adults and children. By coming together in this way, the agencies and individuals at the forefront of dealing with these issues will go away better equipped to find people and also to offer the appropriate support to those involved, the families affected and the staff who must sometimes deal with harrowing experiences.”

Registration deadline is Monday, 3 June 2019. More information about registering can be found here or by emailing

Full conference programme can be found here.