Missing persons in post-conflict settings: best practices for integrating psychosocial and scientific approaches

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Instutite

Publication Date


Document Type



Adaptation, Psychological; Benchmarking; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Family Health; Forensic Medicine; Humans; *Interprofessional Relations; Relief Work; Social Work; *War; Yugoslavia


Health Services Research | Primary Care


This paper argues the importance of establishing integrated systems to meet the needs of forensic investigations as well as the needs of families of the missing in post-conflict situations. Meeting the psychosocial needs of families to resolve uncertainty and to recover the remains of their loved ones must be part of a multidisciplinary team approach to a transparent and standardised scientific investigative protocol. The authors present several case studies from the former Yugoslavia illustrating community-based interventions combining education projects and participation in antemortem data collection as well as providing a support network for families of the missing. The participation of the scientific investigators (pathologists, anthropologists, crime scene investigators, etc), many of whom are unprepared for the presence of family members at the scene, is critical to the success of the integrated process. Providing for and sustaining a long term follow-up programme with families, who may require ongoing mental health and social support, is also essential.

DOI of Published Version



J R Soc Promot Health. 2004 Nov;124(6):271-5. doi: 10.1177/146642400412400615

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID