Project description

GOSPOSTRATEG is a strategic research and development programme of the National Centre for Research and Development ‘Social and economic development of Poland in globalizing markets’. In the framework of the programme, the Itaka Foundation Centre for Missing People, together with the University of Warsaw and the University of Warmia and Mazury, formed a consortium to carry out a project ‘Development of a system of legal, institutional and IT solutions to improve search and identification of missing people and to support their beloved ones.
It is the aim of the project to examine legal solutions applicable in search of missing people and analyse the situation of missing persons’ relatives. 

The project shall result in:

  1. A multi-author monograph on legal solutions related to disappearances
  2. Fifty legal manuals for missing persons and their families 
  3. A modern functional database for the ITAKA Foundation 

Every year about 20 000 people go missing in Poland, of whom about 5 000 are permanently missing – the search for them has continued for many years. So far nobody in the world has undertaken a comprehensive study of the phenomenon of disappearance – its causes, search aspects, real problems arising from disappearance and method to solve them. 

In the framework of the project, an extensive research has been carried out in the most important areas related to disappearance, including the causes and scale of the problem, actions carried out after disappearance, psychological and legal issues, search methods and identification procedures. 

The research focused on causes of disappearances, the scale and dynamics of the phenomenon, its structure and geography during the last 17 years (2000-2017). With the objective of developing a more effective model of search for missing people, Polish legal provisions applicable to search for missing individuals and effectiveness of forensic methods used to establish identify of unidentified persons and corpses were analysed in detail. A review of institutions and agencies involved in search and identification of missing people and offering support to their families was made. Competencies of such institutions and agencies, relations between them and areas of cooperation were examined. Another element of the research was a comprehensive determination of the legal situation of missing persons and their beloved ones. The analysis was based on statistical data of the General Police Headquarters and ITAKA Foundation’s Database of Missing Persons that – as a part of the project – was supplemented with the necessary data and information.