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What would happen if I tried to run away in Florida at 14

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  • What would happen if I tried to run away in Florida at 14

    Im currently 14 years old and living in Florida. I don't feel like i can confide in my parents about any of my problems about my mental health and sexuality because of how overly religious and discriminatory they are. Both me and one of my friends, whose the same age, are both going through simillar problems and neither of us feel safe around our families. We plan to try and move out at 16 but currently the situations are getting worse and we both want out now. I was just curious as to what would happen if we did try to run away before 16 and live with a friend or family member, if either of our parents called the police would we be taken back, could we be arrested for it, and is there some possible way we could leave now and not have to worry about being forced back? Thanks.

  • #2
    Hello and thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. It must be extremely difficult to live in an environment where you don’t feel like your identity is accepted. Everyone deserves to be understood especially by their own family. It is good to hear that you have your friend who seems to be someone you can rely on for emotional support despite this. The two of you are very resilient to be able to keep on going. With regards to your sexuality, it might be a good idea to contact the LGBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743. There you can talk to people who understand and empathize with your situation and might have helpful advice for you. With regards to issues surrounding mental health, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a great resource to find local therapists, groups, or support for emotional struggles. They are reachable at 1-800-950-NAMI. While we are not legal experts, we can provide the general protocol for runaway law in the US. While running away is not illegal, it is considered a status offense. This means that as long as you are a minor, your parents can file a runaway report on you if you ran away. If the police picked you up while a runaway report was out on you, you would not get arrested. In most cases the police would simply notify your parents/guardians and take you home. If you are staying with someone while there is a runaway report out on you, your parents/guardians do have the option of pressing charges against them for harboring a runaway. This would involve them taking whoever was sheltering you to court and is generally considered a misdemeanor offense. In some states, emancipation is an option, but that depends on your particular circumstances. We would be happy to discuss your situation in greater depth. If you are interested in doing so, please don’t hesitate to call us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY or on chat at 1800runaway.org.
    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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