Missing Persons Week
Australian Federal Police
How do we make people care about Missing Persons Week, when most of us have never had a loved one go missing? How do we explain the pain of a family in limbo? Of not being able to move through their grief or find a resolution?
While previous years had focussed on more rational information, the Australian Federal Police tasked Common Ventures with telling a deeper narrative. It was based on a true (and very heartbreaking) story of a father who was spending thousands on their bomb of a car each year, just in case his daughter saw the car, recognised the car and came home. The spot was written, directed and produced by Common Ventures.
AFP Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said he hoped the short video will give the community a window into the profound heartache caused by this issue, as well as the critical role they can play in supporting police.
“This film echoes the real life grief of so many Australians who live in constant uncertainty, not knowing if or when their loved one will come back,” DC Gaughan said.
“The most heartbreaking thing we found when learning about Missing Persons’ Week, was the debilitating effect it has on the families left behind.” said Director James Crawley, from Common Ventures.
“They are left in limbo. They can’t move through the grief, and their life is essentially put on hold.”
The spot is inspired from a true story. Eileen Fahey, whose son Anthony Fahey went missing in 2013, said the film’s narrative is similar to her own experience.
“While we are currently endeavouring to sell our house, it’s upsetting because what if Anthony comes home and someone else is living here? How will he find us, how will he feel, what will he do?” Ms Fahey said.
“I also worry that, if we sell, I won’t have the memories of him being in the house. I’m afraid that I’ll forget the image of him sitting at the end of the bench and the sound of his voice. It’s all tied up in the house – how can I leave it?”
DC Gaughan said that, as part of the 30th National Missing Persons’ Week activities, the AFP and its state and territory counterparts are also profiling 30 long-term missing people from around the nation on social media and outdoor advertising.
“It’s important that we raise awareness of this issue, including the reasons why people go missing, the social and financial impacts, and how the community can get involved. This might mean taking an interest and sharing our social media posts, or sharing a photo of an outdoor advertisement. After all, the community is our eyes and ears in these cases, helping police find the many thousands of people who go missing each year.”
“If you recognise any of the missing people profiled this NMPW, or indeed any of the 2600 long-term missing persons on the Public Register at www.missingpersons.gov.au, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” DC Gaughan said. “You might just have a piece of information that could help bring them home.”