THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY LIAISON
The Family Liaison's main purpose is to coordinate communication between the Community Response Plan Team and the searching family. Remember that the searching family’s wishes and decisions must be respected by the Community Response Plan Team. All decisions must be approved by the searching family through the Family Liaison.
It is essential that the searching family feels comfortable with the people who are in their home and feels appropriately supported by the volunteers.
The searching family may be overwhelmed by all the well-wishers, media attention, volunteers, psychics, curious onlookers, etc. Try to shield them as much as possible. Try to get a sense of the searching family's wishes with regard to the number of people having direct access to them.
Remember at all times that the searching family is in a fragile state. Emotions expressed by the searching family will vary from anger to denial to disbelief. Try to listen to the searching family members without giving advice.
Encourage the searching family to seek supports that reflect their lifestyle and beliefs.
The searching family may be unaware of activities going on outside of their sphere, and could feel isolated and uninformed. Try to keep the searching family informed of what is happening in the search, to the best of your ability.
It is very important to protect the searching family from rumours that may surface throughout the search operations. Remind them that rumours are inevitable and advise the searching family to focus on concrete information provided by the police as well as their own family supports.
If the media or public attention becomes too overwhelming, the searching family may want to consider temporarily relocating to a friend’s house. If this occurs, volunteers could be placed at the searching family’s home to manage calls and visitors.