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  • Runaway

    I want to runaway, I’ve already made plans to stay with someone. I live in Arkansas, I live with my aunt and uncle and they’re terrible parents. If I were to runaway and not be found by them or authorities until I turned 18, (legally an adult) would or could I be charged with anything?

  • #2

    Thank you very much for reaching out. It sounds like you’re in a very tough situation. It makes sense that you’re thinking about running away, given that your aunt and uncle are not good parents to you. You deserve loving and caring parents!

    If you do decide to runaway and were found by the police, you would not be charged with anything. We’re not legal experts, but our understanding is that running away is what’s called a “status offense”, which is a noncriminal act. The police would likely return you to your parents. However, the person you are planning to stay with could be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a punishable offense as they are housing you without your parents’ consent. Once you are 18, you would be an adult in the eyes of Arkansas, free to live where you wanted.

    If you’d like to talk this over some more, please feel free to call our toll-free 24/7, confidential hotline at 1-800-786-2929. We are here to listen and to help in any way that we can.

    We hope this response was helpful! We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey:


    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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