York & North Yorkshire

Claudia Lawrence's father Peter to attend inquiry

Peter and Claudia Lawrence
Image caption Peter Lawrence says families need more support to deal with a missing relative's practical affairs

The father of missing York woman Claudia Lawrence is to give evidence this week at an inquiry into the rights of families of missing people.

Peter Lawrence will attend the inquiry at Westminster on Thursday.

The session will focus on whether a legal guardianship system would help families manage a missing relative's practical affairs.

It has been organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults.

The inquiry will be co-chaired by a cross party panel of parliamentarians, who will make recommendations to the government.

The Ministry of Justice said in a statement it would consider the inquiry's findings seriously.

'Landmark opportunity'

Miss Lawrence was last seen in York on 18 March 2009. Her disappearance is being treated by police as murder.

Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of the charity Missing People, said: "As it stands, if your house is burgled you are automatically offered emotional, practical and legal support.

"If your child goes missing you may get nothing.

"From dealing with finances, insurance policies, bank accounts and mortgages through to having a missing person declared presumed dead, families left behind often struggle to deal with institutions that have no system for their clients going missing.

"This inquiry is a landmark opportunity for parliamentarians to ensure that families are able to access the full range of support that they so desperately need."

A number of other relatives of missing people are giving evidence. They include Kate McCann, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in 2007.

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