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Leaving/Running Away at 17 (almost 18)

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  • #16
    Hi so I’m 17 and I live in ND. My family emotionally abuses me constantly and I’m at a point where I have two options, run away or just end my life. I feel hopeless and trapped at my house constantly, and my parents hate my friends so I can never hang out with them. Is there any laws in ND regarding 17 year olds running away? And if there are any punishments regarding running away.


    • ccsmod7
      ccsmod7 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 sounds like you’re quite overwhelmed by things at home right now. It sounds like you’re fearing that the situation may end in suicide if things don’t change. Your safety and well-being is important. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255); is also a great resource to reach out to in addition to our crisis services.

      To answer your question, police in ND do typically take runaway reports for 17 year olds. So if you leave home without permission your parents can file you as a runaway with police. Since you are 17, police could take lesser actions, but it is possible that they could return you home if found.

      Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This may be an isolating and lonely time for you, but you are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. If you are feeling like if you stay at home you will attempt to end your life, please call 911 or get to a safe place.

      If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon. Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929);

      We hope to hear from you soon.

      Be safe and stay strong,


  • #17
    I am 17, going to be 18 in about 2 months. My parents emotionally drain me, and I can’t stand to be around them. I’ve had mental problems being under their care, and I feel it stems from them. If I left the house to go live with my 18 year old boyfriend and his father, could charges be pressed on his father and/or him?


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you so much for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen.
      It sounds like you are going through a really difficult time right now. You do not deserve to be emotionally drained and we are sorry you are having to deal with that.
      We are not legal experts but we do have some information on the laws. If you were to leave home at 17 because you are still considered a minor, there is a possibility the police could bring you back home. Also whoever you were to stay with could potentially get in trouble for harboring a runaway. Because you are so close to being 18 some police departments may not take a runaway report, but it depends on the police department. To find out the best answer you can always call your local police department and ask how they would handle this situation.
      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore more options, please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. We wish you the best of luck!

  • #18
    I’m turning 18 in 5 days, and have been getting treated horribly at my house. I have a safe place to stay. I need to know if i am legally allowed to leave. I have been reading articles that have stated that any parent cannot force their 17 year old to stay home, nor can they guarantee their child stays in the household. I am debating on whether I should leave or I should wait until I am 18.


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thank you for reaching out to us here at NRS. It sounds like things have not been safe or welcoming for you at home and you feel like your best option is to leave. This is totally understandable, and we want you to know we are here to support you as you take your next steps.

      We are not legal experts, but we can speak generally on this. Your parents are responsible for you until you reach the age of majority (18 in most states). If you leave home before then, your parents can report you as a runaway to the police. Now, some police departments do not enforce runaway reports for someone who is close to turning the age of a majority. In your case, it is very unlikely that police would force you back home if you are days away from turning 18. The only way to know for sure, is to call your local police department's non-emergency number to ask about their protocol and how they might handle this situation.

      We hope this information helps! You can always reach out again by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services if you would like to talk more about your situation.

      Stay safe,

  • #19
    My parents were never married and my mother has full custody. She has let me live with her aunt for 9 years and I see my mom on Sundays, she is very emotionally abusive and I love living with my aunt. She is now threatening to take me back to live with her two months before my 18th birthday, I’m not sure what my rights are and if I will be returned home if I run away. We are also in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, so I’m not sure if that impacts anything. (I live in New York)


    • #20
      Hi there!
      You definitely do not deserve to have your mom be emotionally abusive towards you. Because you are so close to 18 and with everything happening with Covid 19 it is hard to say how the police would handle it. You could always reach out to your local police anonymously and ask how they would handle it. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, you could always call out hotline and we could make the call with you!
      Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. You are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. You can always call us at 1800-RUNAWAY (786-2929. If you would like to talk more in detail please chat soon through our website (click on the chat button) if you are unable to call in.
      Stay safe!

      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)


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