The Australian Federal Police will launch an advertising campaign to raise community awareness of missing youths, as the focus of this year’s national missing persons week, August 3- 9.

The theme of this year’s campaign, Don’t close the door to communication, will be promoted on Facebook and MySpace as well as through media and poster campaigns in a bid to encourage young missing persons to make themselves known.

It is estimated that of the 35,000 people who go missing each year 20,000 are under the age of 18 and often trying to escape violent or uncomfortable situations where they are in a homophobic environment.

The youth focus for this year’s campaign aims to highlight to both parents and youth, the importance of communication and maintaining open communication channels, said a NSW Police spokesperson.

It is not a crime to go missing and police and parents just want to know that they are safe. The message of this year’s campaign is simple: make a call or contact friends and family online, to let people know that you are OK if you haven’t had recent contact.

President of the Homicide Survivors Support After Murder Group Peter Rolfe, seconds this notion that people should not be scared to get in touch with police to let someone know they are alive.

It’s imperative that people try and make some sort of contact because no matter what, people left in the lurch for a period of time are always expecting the worst and don’t really deserve it. People might think that they do sometimes, and sometimes young people build things up in their mind so it becomes almost impossible for them to make the next step but get in touch with a police officer, they don’t care if you’re gay or anything they just care that you are a missing person and want to let people know that you are safe.
info: Take a minute to peruse through online profiles of missing people from around the country at www.afp.gov.au/national/missing/national_missing_persons_week.html.

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