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If I runaway and I am somewhere safe, Can my parents call the cops?

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  • If I runaway and I am somewhere safe, Can my parents call the cops?

    I am having problems at home and its been going on since I was about 9. I am 16 now and I cant take it anymore. I need to get away. I have been emotionally abused by my mom and physically abused by my dad. It had gotten better but a few days ago it started up again. The thing is I have 5 other siblings and I am the oldest. None of these things are happening to them, Its only me. So I just want to go live somewhere else. If I do leave can the police make me go back home if I am staying somewhere safe, all my needs are taken care of, and I am still going to school?

  • #2
    Re: If I runaway and I am somewhere safe, Can my parents call the cops?

    Hello,

    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you have been dealing with both emotional and physical challenges from your parents for many years. You have reached a point where you are considering leaving their home for a new living situation where you feel safe and allows you to go to continue going to school. You raised a very valid concern if your parents can still report you as a runaway to the police even if you have found a living situation where all your needs are met.

    Until you reach the age of majority (legal adulthood) in your state, the answer is that your parents do have the authority to report you as a runaway to your local police. Since they have legal responsibility for you, they can decide where you can live until you reach adulthood. That being said, we find the police reaction to filing a runaway report tends to vary from location to location. Some authorities treat the runaway report as a statutory offence and do not go looking for youth unless there are other legal complications. In these cases, if the runway youth is brought to the police’s attention due to other legal violations and they see that a runaway report has been filed, they may choose to bring your parents involved. Other police authorities might be more aggressive and follow up just on the filing of a runaway report.

    To find out how your local police reacts to run away reports, we suggest you call your local police from a phone that can’t be identified to get an understanding of their process. We can support you further if you’re unsure of the age of majority in your state or to discuss options for legal aid in your area. The best way to get this information quickly is to contact us directly. You can confidentially call us 24 a day at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929). Another option is contact us through our chat line from 4PM-11PM accessed through our website www.1800runaway.org.

    Thank you for sharing your situation on the National Runaway Safeline Forum. Hopefully other youth will benefit from you sharing your story. We hope the information above will help you feel more secure in your current living situation. Best of luck!
    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

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    • #3
      Would i get in to trouble if i ran away well like left at age 16 but im am somewhere safe would i get introuble if my dad calls the cops?

      Comment


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for reaching out! We are not legal experts, but our understanding is that it is never illegal to run away. So you wouldn't be in trouble. It's what is called a status offense. This means that if you run away, your dad can file a runaway report, and if he does, the police's job is to return you to your guardian's. Our understanding is that if a guardian approves of your alternative living arrangement, you can stay there. And sometimes youth do live in an alternative living arrangement even after the runaway report is filed. Police don't pursue all cases very aggressively (like if youth is close to 18,) or the youth just isn't found.

        It's great that you are seeking a safe and supportive environment. We hope this info was a help. Also, feel free to give us a call. We are available 24/7, and we can talk through this further.

    • #4
      If I am 16 and I runaway out of state can I still go out and get a job

      Comment


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there, thanks for posting to our board! We are here to help.
        It sounds like home might be a bit stressful right now. We are not legal experts but we do know running away is not a crime. It is a status offense, meaning you can't do it because of your age. In most states, 18 is the age you can leave without permission. If you leave before that, your parents can call the police and let them know you are gone. Thinking abut whether or not your parents would do that might be something to consider.
        Additionally, any adult you stay with could get in trouble if your parents wanted to pursue charges on that, so you may consider that too.

        In terms of getting a job, usually they would not ask if you are a runaway or be able to see that as your status since running away is not a crime. However, you may need some identification to get a job like a birth certificate, driver license, etc.

        We are here 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) and on live chat through our website. That way we ca provide more specific resources too!

        Best of luck and please reach out anytime!

    • #5
      I am 15 turning 16 September 7 I am running away but I know I can't leave permanitly because I still want to go to school but what happens if it's been a month and they still haven't found me do the cops still keep looking as hard as they were when I first went missing or do they stop looking

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out to us! We are very sorry to hear about the trouble you’ve been having at home.

        We’re not legal experts, but here are some basic rules of thumb about leaving home without permission as a minor:

        It is not against the law to run away, but it is a status offense.
        If your parents file a runaway report and police know where you are, they could come collect you and require you to return home.
        If you stay with an adult (such as the people who may have offered a place for you stay), they could potentially be charged with harboring a runaway -- which is against the law. This is unlikely -- but did want to mention to make you aware of this possible risk.

        You’re asking us how long the cops will keep looking for you. While all police departments are different, the key thing to think about is this: will your parents file a runaway report? If they file a runaway report, this could lead to the police looking for you and making it more likely you’ll be found and collected by them. As we said above though, this is still just a status offense -- not against the law.

        Finally, you mentioned school -- so just now that there’s a way to go to school without your parent’s help. There’s a law called the McKinney-Vento Act that provides you this right. To get help with this, you’ll need to find the McKinney-Vento “Liaison” in your state. To find the right contact for you and find out how they help you enroll in a nearby school, use a search engine like Google end enter these search terms: [STATE NAME] McKinney-Vento Liaison” (Just replace “STATE NAME” with the state you live in.

        We hope this information helps! Please don’t hesitate to call us at the National Runaway Safeline if you’d like to discuss more about about what’s going on at home or running away any further. You can reach us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

        Best,

        NRS

    • #6
      I am getting mentally, physically, and sexually abused at home. It has been happening for a few years now. My parents do the physical and emotional but my sisters soon to be husband does the sexual. I have told my mom alot about the sexual abuse and she has done nothing but yell at me saying I know what to do. I am 15 and I have 7 siblings. I am the only one who gets abused. I want to runaway with my boyfriend out of the state they are in. Will the missing report go nationwide if my parents file one or just in the state?

      Comment


      • ccsmod1
        ccsmod1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,

        Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension - you deserve to live somewhere where you are safe and secure. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

        You mentioned some things that raise concern for your safety and well-being. Absolutely no one deserves to be abused in any way. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. If any harm or abuse is happening at home, you have the right to report it. If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/. We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering. It may also be a good idea to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.

        You brought up that your soon to be brother-in-law has been sexually abusing you and while you told your mom, she wasn't responsive. You do not deserve to have this happen to you, and we believe and support you. You are a survivor and that means that you have a great strength and resilience inside you. It can be really hard to deal with this alone and sometimes it’s helpful to reach out to additional agencies for support. One really great resource for all survivors of sexual assault or abuse is RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network). You can call them any time 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673, or go to www.rainn.org to use their online hotline. RAINN is the National Sexual Assault Hotline and has a lot of services, support, and resources that you may find helpful.

        We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your parents can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report - this will enter you into a national runaway database. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your parents. Police might let you stay if you disclose the abuse that has been going on at home but would report it to CPS.

        If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

        Stay safe,
        NRS

    • #7
      If I run away and cross the state line will a police station in the next state actively look for me?

      Comment


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for reaching out to us with these questions. We are not legal experts but we can share some information which will hopefully be able to answer your questions. As long as you are a minor, your parents can legally file a runaway report. Runaway reports will sometimes lead to searches for the runaway youth and will end in the youth being returned to their parents. Runaway reports are also entered into a national database. That means that even if you are in another state, if you interact with police and give them their name, your runaway status will show up on your file. It also might be helpful to know depending on where you’re planning to stay, that almost all shelters will require parental consent for a minor to be able to stay with them which would alert your parents of your location. If you have other questions, feel free to use our online chat service or to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We are here 24/7 and would be happy to help.

    • #8
      I’m 16 about to turn 17 and it’s been 3 years since I’ve wanted to move out without my parents consent because my mom is bringing me down and mentally hurting me, if I move into somewhere safe can the police department in Texas take me back to my parents house ?

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        18 years old is generally the age that an individual may leave home without permission from their parent or legal guardian. We are not legal experts here but we can speak in general terms. If you are under 18 and leave home without permission, your parent/guardian may file a runaway report with the police. What actions the police take once you are filed as a runaway can vary a lot from state to state and even city to city so we cannot predict exactly what would happen in your case. Generally speaking, if you encounter a police officer while reported as a runaway, you will likely be returned home. However, in that case there may be services (family counseling, etc.) available to you as a youth in crisis/runaway but again, police procedures related to offering those services can be different based on your location or the details of your situation. Another thing to consider is that while running away is not a crime, a legal adult who allows you to stay with them may be putting themselves at risk for being charged with harboring a runaway. One way to find out the laws in your area is to call your local police and ask what their policies are regarding runaway youth.

        We hope this information will help in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. We wish you the best of luck, and know you are not alone.
        NRS

    • #9
      Hi, I am 16 and currently live in the state of Nevada. My parents are really making me feel insecure and I am really tired of it. I have read up and done some research and it says I can leave home at 16, 17, or 18 if I can support myself. I found a job in Missouri to support myself and be like any other adult but I still want to make sure I won’t get anyone in trouble please help.

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello There,
        Thank you 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 difficult time right now.
        We are not legal experts but if you do leave home without permission you could be considered as a runaway. If the police do find you they most likely would bring you home. What you probably found about leaving and being able to support yourself is emancipation. For emancipation it is a process you would have to go through with the court system. To find out more about the process you can always call your local court house. You can also give us a call for legal aid numbers.
        We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore your options more please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and support. Best of luck!
        NRS
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