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If I run away, will I be held accountable?

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  • If I run away, will I be held accountable?

    I've been dealing with emotional abuse for a while now. My family works me too hard and won't listen to my reasoning. I've been planning on running away and I want to know what will happen if they catch me though. I'm 13.

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    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for contacting us at the National Runaway Safeline. It takes a lot of courage to reach out during difficult times. Know that abuse of any kind is never okay. You deserve to feel safe and happy where you live.

    You always have the option to file an abuse report, though emotional abuse is difficult to prove. You can reach out to us to talk through this option and we could help you make the report. The National Child Abuse Hotline (Child Help, 1-800-422-4453) can help you explore this option as well.

    You also mentioned wanting to runaway. Because you are thirteen, you are considered a minor. As a minor, running away is a status offense, meaning illegal because of your age, not a crime. If you run away and your guardians file a runaway report, the police would look for you and likely send you home. We are not legal experts, however, and laws vary across states and situations. One option you have to gauge your rights is to reach out to your local non-emergency police line with hypothetical and anonymous questions. If you decide to runaway and find yourself in danger, the National Safe Place ( is an organization that helps connect youth to nearby safe places. To reach out the National Safe Place, text 44357 with the word “safe” and your location.

    Again, know that you can always reach out to us at 1-800-RUNAWAY as we are 24/7, toll-free, and confidential. On a call, we might be able to explore options in more depth.

    Stay strong,
    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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