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Assisting With a Runaway?

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  • Assisting With a Runaway?

    I'm kind of new to this whole idea so bear with me a little...

    I was 15 the first time my step dad hit me. I was 16 the first time he made an inappropriate advance at me. By the time I was 17, I decided I had had enough and I ran away to live with my boyfriend, now my husband, and his mom. I'm 22 now and my little sister, who will be 17 in October, is having the same issues I was when I lived at home. She calls me crying at least once a week because of the way my step dad and mom are treating her. I understand exactly what she's going through and it's killing me that it's happening to her.

    My real question is what can I do to help without making things worse for her? I mentioned something to a cop who is a friend of the family. He said he would take care of it. I got a phone call from my younger brother a few days later saying that my sister was grounded and wasn't aloud to speak to me again because of the "lies" I had told.

    She is depressed and she is following in my footsteps. It terrifies me because I ended up attempting suicide to get away from it. I don't want her taking that next leap before someone who has the power to do something, will do something.

    I have offered to let her move in with me and my husband. She wants to but she's afraid of how our mom and step dad are going to respond. Any advice?

  • #2
    Re: Assisting With a Runaway?

    Hello there,

    We are very sorry to hear about how your stepdad treated you and it sounds like your sister is now going through some very similar circumstances. No one deserves to be mistreated whether it is by hitting or inappropriate sexual advancement and we imagine it is scary to think she is at risk of the same things you experienced when you were younger. We aren’t legal experts, but can answer basic questions in a general sense.

    Running away is normally just a status offense, so not illegal per se, but rather limited because of her age. There are typically laws associated with helping a runaway, so sometimes it just depends on what legal risks the adults willing to help are willing to take. Harboring a runaway, crossing state lines with a minor, etc. are normally just considered misdemeanors and to know for sure you could always contact your local law enforcement or legal aid. Your sister also has the right to try and report any abuse or mistreatment she has experienced as she does have a right to feel safe at home. That being said, we recognize what a difficult decision that can be, especially not knowing how the local Child Protective Services is going to react. One resource that might be help is Child Help of America. They advocate and provide information for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect.

    We are certainly here to offer as much support as we can, both for you and your sister. To continue talking about the situation and hopefully possible options, we offer two direct ways of communication. Since you first reached out online, you may be interested in our Live Chat which is open every day from 4:30 to 11:30pm CST. (Simply click on the red Live Chat button on our homepage.) If you have trouble with that, we can also be reached 24/7 by calling us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929).

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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