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What will happen if I ran away and get caught

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  • #31
    My mom and step dad treat me differently then the rest of my siblings I tried to take my life by overdosing but all it did was make me dizzy and drowsy so my mom thought I was on drugs and told everyone about me, then she yells at me and says my life is a screw up. They make me scrub floors 24/7 and they make me clean and watch there kids like its my responsibilities, I make dinner everyday and no one appreciates what I do, I tried to call social services on them I don't want to be here no more, I have a learning disability and they were getting frustrated with me and my school work and so my mother sent me to my room and said I can't come out until I learn how to be normal, an when I asked hours later to come out she told me if she let's me out then I'm gonna cleaning the house until she says I can take a break. I really wanna runaway but I dont know what's gonna happen, will I get in trouble??please help


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.

      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.

      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by forum to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.

      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (click on the chat button).

      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.

      Be safe,


  • #32
    Hello im going through alot and wanted to harm myself but i just dont wanna do that my stepdad is mulipative and is verbally abusive i want to run away but dont have my phone and is scared of what would dhappen. if i ran away what would happen and would i get in any illegal trouble ? and also my sister wanted to go with mw so how would that work.I jus need to leave and get time out of here they got me in a tight space and i just need time to myself and got a place i can stay. PLease tell me what i could do and is it smart and if i can take my sister need to know by a tmmr


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello –

      Thank you for contacting us here at the National Runaway Safeline. We understand that it takes great courage to reach out. I’m sorry to hear that life at home has led you to want to run away, that sounds like a difficult situation to deal with.

      Having a place to stay to ensure that you are safe is very important. While we are not legal experts, running away is not considered illegal. However, since you are a minor, your guardians have the right to file a runaway report. With a runaway report, if the police find you they would return you home unless you express to them that you live in an unsafe environment. If you left home and decided to stay with a friend, they could get in trouble for harboring a runaway. To learn more about the process of running away and being able to enroll in school without your legal guardian’s permission, you can also call the National Center of Homeless Education Hotline at 1-800-308-2145.

      If you would like to discuss the reasons as to why you want to runaway or you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us directly via our 24 hour crisis hotline (1-800-786-2929), email, or live chat.

      We hope the information provided helps. Remember we are available 24/7 and can be toll-free reached at the number listed above. We are confidential, anonymous, and non-direct.

      Best Wishes

  • #33
    So I don't really know how to explain how i'm feeling but there are times where I compare my life to my friends lives. All of a sudden with me being a teenager, my parents blame things on me and I get in trouble for it. I have so many thoughts where I want to hurt myself or run away. I'm scared to run away because if I get caught I have to go back home but I don't want to go back home cause I know my parents will hate me. I want to go somewhere I know I can't get caught because now I hate being at home and I want to leave. I am 15 so its probably not the smartest thing to do but I want to so my question is do I have to go back home or can there be a compromise where I can stay with one of the police or something because I am so tempted to run away from home right now.


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. We are glad you reached out to us for help.

      It definitely sounds like you’re going through a lot. Your situation sounds like it could indeed be quite frustrating and stressful. It sounds like you are having a hard time at home and being a teenager. It’s understandable to compare your life to you friends at times. Your peers are similar in age to you and you have some common familiarities. It must be tough having your parents blame you for things you haven’t done. Many teenagers are at odds with the parents, and it’s important to find coping strategies have an open line of communication to help you deal with everything.

      If you are ever feeling unsafe or thinking about ending your life, we encourage you to reach out to emergency services by phone or in person. You may also reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Although things may seem to feel permanent, things do not have to remain as they are.

      If you decide to leave home without your parent’s permission, they would be able to file a runaway report with the police. A runaway report is considered a status offense, and that means that you won’t be arrested. It is the equivalent of being caught smoking by the police when you are underage. But what the police do if your parents file the runaway report may be different. We are not legal experts and cannot give legal advice, but we can share some general information. In some areas, the police will take a runaway report, but will not do anything more than that. Sometimes, they will actively go out and look for the youth. Whoever you are staying with could get into trouble for harboring a runaway. This may be something you would want to discuss with your friend.

      If you want to get a break from your parents, thinking about other family members or friends that they may give you permission to stay with for even a day or two may help you get a break and make it easier to handle how you are being treated.

      Whether or not you decide that to leave home, we are here to discuss your situation and talk through your options. If you would like to give us a call, we can try to help you manage what is happening at home and make a plan if you leave. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

      It takes courage to ask for help, and we wish you the best of luck with such a difficult situation.

  • #34
    I cannot figure out how to create my own post so commenting here!

    Will be turning 18 in 3 months (March) Walking in on my mom who hung herself. Father was abusive and knew she probably would. She tried before and was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night years ago but he told everyone it was insomnia. He is trying to marry me off before I even turn 18 and make me stay in the house I found her in. My sister has an incredibly stable job across the US and makes more than enough to provide for me. I want to leave but I dont want to get her into trouble. We are from a family that backs him without question so I dont think I could go to the police and feel trapped. What can I do? Filing for guardianship takes 4 months and at that point I could just leave anyway but I need out now or I dont know what will happen.


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and we are so glad that you decided to reach out to us. We are sorry to hear that you have had to face some traumatic events in your life.

      The relationship between you and your father seems awful and you do not deserve to be treated that way. We know you mentioned not wanting to go to the police, but we do want you to know it is your choice if you want to make an abuse report. If you ever do decide to make a report you can contact Child Help at 1800-422-4453.

      We are not legal experts but we do have some information on what could happen if you were to leave. Because you are a minor your father could file a runaway report, it is a possibility the police could bring you back home. Because you are so close to being 18 and with the things you have described the police may allow you to stay with your sister. As far as your sister getting in trouble, there is a thing called harboring a runaway which can be a fine or a misdemeanor. In a lot of cases this is rare to be charged with usually it happens if your sister was hiding you. With all the events you have had to experience it can be really hard to deal with alone. You do not need to cope alone you can speak to a counselor or a good resource is called NAMI (national alliance for mental illnesses). They can be reached at 1800-950-NAMI.

      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore more options please give us a call. We are here for you 24/7 and wish you the best of luck!

  • #35
    So I’m staying with my mom but I just came out with being sexually abused for all my life and my mom did believe me so I thought I could start telling how I really feel, and of course that didn’t happen, so what happened was, I was feeling really depressed so I told my mom and she just started going off on me telling me I’m sh*t and that I’m not worth anyone’s time and that she should beat me for saying I was felling depressed, so of course I decided I wanted to run away but I’m scared cause I don’t wanna get caught, PLEASE HELP!!!!


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to NRS. It sounds like you are in a very difficult situation and we may be able to provide you with resources that may be helpful to you. If you are in danger, you can always call 911.

      To begin with, no one deserves to be treated the way your mom is treating you. It is your mom’s responsibility to provide a safe and supportive environment for you. A potential resource is ChildHelp, the National Child Abuse Hotline at, or 1-800-422-4453. They have volunteers who can talk to you about your situation and offer resources that may be helpful to you.

      If you want to talk to someone about your depression, you can consider contacting SAMHSA at or the SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-662-4357). SAMHSA is a 24/7 treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. SAMGSA may be able to offer you information and assistance to help you deal with your depression.

      At NRS our primary goal is to ensure that you stay safe and off the street. If you leave home have you considered where you will stay? Have you considered talking to friends or other family members about your situation? If not, do you have a teacher or other trusted adult that you would be comfortable talking to about your situation?

      You could also consider contacting your local division of family services to file an abuse report. If you are not comfortable doing so on your own, you can call us and one of our volunteers can make the call with or for you.

      Another potential resource is National Safe Place at or text the word "safe" to and your location to 69866. They will send you the nearest safe location to you where you can go until you figure out your next steps.

      We are not legal experts, but we may be able to provide some information that may be helpful to you. Running away is not illegal. If you do run away, your parents can file a runaway report. If you are picked up by the police, they will likely take you home. If you are staying with someone and you are picked up there, they could be charged with harboring a runaway.

      How the police handle runaway cases varies from state to state and city to city. You may call the non-emergency number of your local police department and they may provide information on how they handle runaway and harboring cases. If you are not comfortable making the call, you can call us and we can call with or for you.

      You can also always call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We have volunteers available 24/7 to talk to you and to help you find resources that may be helpful to you.

      We wish you the best!

  • #36
    My home life certainly isn't the best. Im currently trying to stabilize myself from 2 panic attacks i had in the past hour. I, simply put, wanna know if i ran away would i experience legal trouble? (15yo)


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there! Thanks for reaching out to us here at NRS. We know that it can take a lot of courage to reach out for support, and we're glad you took that step. We're sorry to hear that things at home haven't been the best. When situations become so overwhelming that they cause regular panic attacks, that can definitely feel like a heavy weight. We commend you for doing what you can to stabilize yourself and see what's next for you. Unfortunately there is no simple answer to your question, as running away can be really complex and circumstantial. That said, yes. It is possible for you to experience legal trouble if you decide to runaway. For example, if your legal guardians were to report you missing. If you find yourself picked up by an officer--maybe you're missing school, maybe you're out too late, whatever the case may be--that's one interaction with the law and then another potential interaction because of that missing persons report. So it also really depends on what your definition of legal trouble is. Beyond that, in some states, minors who runaway and are considered ungovernable, may be at risk of legal consequences as well. There are far too many scenarios for us to give you a straight answer aside from a basic: it's possible.

      If you'd like to chat over your particular situation in more detail, please feel free to reach out to us by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY or by chat at We're available 24/7 and are always happy to listen, and to help.

      Take care.

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