Last year alone more than 8500 people went missing from somewhere in Victoria. More than half of those reported missing between June 2012 and June 2013 were under the age of 17.
This year’s focus for National Missing Persons Week is mental illness and recognising the warning signs before a loved one goes missing.
Commander Doug Fryer from Intelligence and Covert Support Command said even the smallest piece of information could be the crucial key to locating someone that’s missing.
“A significant number of those reported missing each year sadly suffer from some form of mental illness,” he said.
“When a loved one, family member or friend disappears without explanation, it causes significant heartache for the families involved.
“We know that some people don’t want to be found. It’s not our job to judge, but rather make sure that anyone reported as missing is safe and well.
“For those of you who may have started a new life without your family or friends knowledge please let police know so we can at least alleviate some of that pain.
“You don’t need to tell us where you are, just that you’re ok”.
Of those that go missing, many are found within a short period of time. But there are some who are not.
Annastaes (Anna) Banitskas has been missing from the Thomastown area since 1974.
Anna’s family have told police that she left home at about 7am on 27 August to catch a bus on Kingsway Drive, Thomastown, to her workplace. Anna never arrived at work.
Police believe an associate of Anna’s was working for Michael Brothers Builders at a Kingsway Drive building site in Lalor at the time of her disappearance and may be able to assist with enquiries.
Police have to date been unable to track down this company or anyone associated with it.
Anna was 15 years old at the time she disappeared.
Police are calling on the public for information that may lead to finding these missing people. Information about missing persons can be reported by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
To report someone missing, contact your local police. If it is an emergency, such as a child or elderly person that has gone missing, call Triple Zero (000).
National Missing Persons Week, which runs from July 28 to August 3, is recognised annually to raise community awareness about missing persons and the impact that loosing a loved one can have on both their families and the wider community.
The week is coordinated by Australian Federal Police through the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, along with support from State and Territory police.