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I want to runaway, but I have some questions.

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  • I want to runaway, but I have some questions.

    I really want to runaway from home. My mom is, I guess what you'd call 'emotionally abusive' and yells at me all the time for things like washing the dishes 'the wrong way' she's very strict and always uses the excuse that I'm 'privileged and taking things for granted' just because she can afford vacations and things of that nature for my family. I'm 17 and I can't stand living here anymore. I'm trying everything to graduate early so I can leave as soon as I'm 18 but I don't think I can stand living here for another year. I've considered getting emancipated, but if I were to run away what would happen to me that would affect me in a legal sort of way?

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    re: I want to runaway but I have some questions

    We are so glad that you found the National Runaway Switchboard online. It can be difficult to know where to turn when things are tough and we want you to know that you’re not alone. It sounds like things with your mom are really difficult right now. Being yelled at and feeling emotionally abused can be hard to live with, so you must be a very strong individual. Have you ever talked to your mom about how you feel? Things must be really bad since you said you can’t stand to live there anymore.

    You have some really good questions and although we aren’t legal experts here, what we can tell you is that in most places running away is not against the law. Instead, it is considered a status offense which means that if you were to be picked up by the police, they would return you to your legal guardian. Alternatively, harboring a runaway is against the law in many places. What that means is that whoever you stay with could be putting themselves at legal risk. One options that you have is to contact your local police department. You can actually call the non-emergency line anonymously and ask questions about laws regarding running away in your area.

    It sounds like you’ve considered emancipaton as an option also. You seem to be very thoughtfully considering how your current decisions might affect what your rights are. Emancipation varies from place to place, but if you wanted to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY or chat with us at, we would be happy to gather information on your location and dicuss some more specifics. We hope that you are able to find the answers that you are looking for and we hope that we can continue to help you as you seek out a safe place to be. We look forward to hearing from you.



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