When a loved one is missing, managing the complexities of their personal affairs can create unnecessary stress that detracts from your primary concern. Red Wire has developed a list of digital tools to keep your family safe, and simple tips to alleviate any telco headaches when handling the affairs of a missing person.

Each year in Australia, 35,000 people are reported missing. That’s one person every fifteen minutes. Our reliance on connectivity may help keep those we love safer than ever.

Apps to locate your kids

Children represent 20,000 of the 35,000 annually reported missing person’s cases – but parents now have a wide range of tools available to keep their kids safe. One of those tools is Tile.

Tile is a key-ring friendly tracking device that can track almost anything. Tile is community driven, using its large user base to locate nearby tiles and report their location to that Tile’s owner. Using the Tile app, you can ring your Tile, and see its last known location on a map. Attaching one to your child’s schoolbag or their house keys is a great way to be sure they make it home safe after school.

Find My Friends is an iOS app which allows families to keep track of each other’s location via their inbuilt GPS. The app provides location updates and can warn you if a family member leaves a designated area, which is the perfect way to keep an eye out while you’re on task. The benefit of this solution is that it uses actual GPS, so your child’s reported location is likely to be more reliable.

Wearables to keep your child safe come in all shapes and sizes – FlashMe’s Sydney (approx. AU$10) bracelet places a QR Code on a child’s wrist so that in the event they are found, the name, email address and phone number of their parents are easily accessible, along with the child’s name and age.

If the worst were to happen and your child does go missing, the Australian Federal Police’s Child ID App (iOS and Android) gives parents an avenue to deliver critical information to the authorities investigating the disappearance. The app stores photos and information, and can be password protected so it’s only accessible to authorised parties. Information stored on the app can then be sent to investigating authorities, giving them vital assistance in the search of a missing person. Emergency contact numbers and actions to take when a child has just gone missing are also stored, along with checklists to help ensure the safety of your children.

Missing Persons Guide

Additionally, Missing Persons Advocacy Network’s Missing Persons Guide provides the friends and family of missing persons with steps to take immediately after their disappearance, as well as what to do in the first week, first month, and in the long term. The guide was developed by Loren O’Keeffe, a recipient of Vodafone Foundation’s 2013 World of Difference program, which supported O’Keeffe with funding for a year while she created the guide and established the charity.

O’Keeffe is the founder and CEO of the Missing Persons Advocacy Network, which she set up in 2013 after her brother Daniel went missing in 2011.

In the event that someone close to you goes missing, take these steps immediately:

  • Report the person as missing – Once someone is suspected missing, report to the Police by dialling 000;
  • Write down everything you know – Record all details of their disappearance;
  • Enlist people to help you; and
  • Create a poster and distribute it.

Managing a missing person’s account

In response to Ms O’Keeffe’s immense efforts in searching for her brother and producing the Missing Persons Guide, Vodafone Hutchison Australia has recently implemented a new procedure for staff to assist friends and family of missing persons manage their Vodafone account in the event of their disappearance – a first-of-its-kind in Australian telecommunications.

Once you’ve completed the list above, to manage the account of a missing person in their absence:

  • Call Vodafone on 1300 650 410;
  • Explain that you’re calling on behalf of a missing person and give the agent their phone number;
  • Provide the Police Report Number from the Missing Persons Report;

Ms O’Keeffe commended this endeavour saying she was “heartened by Vodafone’s introduction of such a compassionate policy.”

Vodafone Director of Customer Service Errol van Graan continued, “We recognise that greater consideration should be given to the process of handling an account of a customer whose whereabouts is unknown, which is why we are introducing a Missing Persons procedure to make it easier for authorised representatives to act on behalf of a customer who is missing.”

Find out more about the Missing Persons Advocacy Network.

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Harrison Worley

Business Specialist

Harrison Worley,
Business Specialist

Harrison provides a frontline perspective to tech and social media. As a Vodafone Business Specialist, Harrison is passionate about how technology can improve the lives and everyday workflows of anyone -- from a small business owner to a uni student.