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

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  • #16
    What happens if I run away from an abusive household and stay with a friend’s family member and my abusive parents call the cops?

    Comment


    • ccsmod0
      ccsmod0 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 seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.

      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.

      The easiest way to leave home is with your parents' permission. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or a family friend who could help to communicate how you’re feeling to your parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. Lastly, you can also look into emancipation options. In most states you need to be at least 16 to be considered and demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and independently. Emancipation often can be a lengthy process and may even cost some money for court fees. We would be happy to look into legal resources if that’s something you are considering.

      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.

      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button). If you would like to look into further emotional support options, you can text with a crisis worker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24/7 by texting "NAMI" to 741741.

      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.

      Be safe,

      NRS

  • #17
    Hi I would just like to know, can you report people who submit responses on here to the Child Protective Services?

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks for reaching out, we know that it takes a lot of courage to do so! We are mandated reporters here at NRS which means that if we hear of any abuse and know your full name and street address then we have to make a report to Child Protective Services. If you'd like us to file a report on your behalf please contact us by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY or by using our online chat feature. If you would like more information on reporting in general, you can check out the National Child Abuse Hotline at www.childhelp.org. If you feel like you are in immediate danger we encourage you to dial 911 or emergency services.

      Stay safe,
      NRS

      We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

  • #18
    Hello I’m 16 almost 17 and I want to runaway only because I’ve been molested by my step father for most of my life without my mother knowing and I need to get out. It only happens to me out of my other two siblings and they both know about what goes on and I’ve tried to tell my mother but I just don’t have the guts to do so it’s a very scary and serious situation. I was wondering if I runaway to another state would I be taken back into this situation? Would the police leave me in the household that I would be staying at if they know about what goes on at home? I would be running away to a place where they will keep me safe but I want to know if it would be legal to stay there considering my situation I just don’t want to get molested anymore and they would keep me far away from that. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble by the law because of my situation. I just want to be safe and happy and I want to get a chance to heal from this traumatic situation far away from home.

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. We're really proud of you for sharing your story with your siblings and with us, it shows that you're really brave. Your step dad's behavior is in no way acceptable and you deserve a safe place to heal from this.

      Your step dad's actions are inexcusable and you should be able to feel safe in your own home. If you are currently at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. 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.

      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 mom can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. 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 home. That being said, if you disclose the abuse that has been going on the police may let you stay where you are but would have to contact CPS who would ultimately decide where you would be placed.

      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

      We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

  • #19
    So I’m 15 and I’m thinking about leaving my living situation Bc I’ve been abused In the past and it’s starting to happen again and I set up for me to go live with someone and file for emancipation so I do t have to deal with my nonbiological parents. Is this illegal?

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 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 seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
      It sounds like you’re quite overwhelmed by things at home right now and you mentioned being harmed. We’re sorry you’re going through this. You don't deserve to be hurt 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. You may also be able to report any mistreatment to CPS. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. They can tell you more about how CPS could respond to your situation. If you ever need assistance calling out to CPS to make an abuse or neglect report please call is at 1-800-RUNAWAY.
      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
      Be safe,
      NRS

  • #20
    So I am 16 I live in buffalo New York I have a part time job currently and other relatives I can go and live with. Am I able to leave home and not be forced to return and if I tell them where I am can I be considered a runaway still? I really don't need to rely on my parents I have a job and somewhere else I can move to I’m seeing that I don't need to go to court and then I’m seeing I need to go to court with my parents I’d like a complete rundown of what I can do in this situation. Once again I’m 16 in buffalo New York I have a job and have somewhere else safe to live that is not my parents’ home. (Any responses or resources would be appreciated regarding emancipation).
    Last edited by ccsmod4; 11-04-2020, 12:21 AM.

    Comment


    • ccsmod4
      ccsmod4 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello,
      Thank you for writing to us here at the National Runaway Safeline.

      We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. 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. In some states there are emancipation laws that can be one way of trying to gain your independence. We are not legal experts, but we can help you get a general sense of how emancipation works. Our general understanding is some states offer formal emancipation statutes while others do not unfortunately. Laws vary depending on your location, but in many states a minor can petition the court for emancipation to take responsibility for their own care before they turn 18.

      Generally speaking, courts are wary about granting emancipation. In most cases, you would have to prove in court that you have an income and can care for yourself financially, and that you are able to live separately from your parents. It also helps to be in good standing at school. Usually your legal guardian would have to agree to this in court. It’s best to check your local courthouse to gain more information on this process.
      Also you might check with your local police department to inquire about the runaway laws in your state or if someone that moves out of their parent or guardian’s home would without permission would be considered a runaway and forced to return home.
      If you would like to talk more about your situation we are here to listen and here to help.
      To speak with someone on our crisis or chat line contact 1-800-Runaway (786-2929) or www.1800runaway.org
      We look forward to hearing from you.
      Take care,
      NRS

  • #21
    im planning on staying at my friends house because my parents are mentally abusive. I'm doing this without their consent. I'm 16. My parents do not have my social sercuity card or birth cerfitcate.since they dont have that can they still call the cops and make me go home?

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We’re sorry to hear that your parents are making your living situation so emotionally difficult. It makes sense that you want to leave an environment that is clearly not good for your mental health.

      While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is not illegal to run away. Your parent/guardian could file a runaway report on you but this would NOT mean that you would get arrested or charged with anything. It typically does mean that the police could return you home if they encountered you and that would be that. Some police can be more understanding about what is going on at your home. In our experience, police will oftentimes return the youth back to their guardian almost no matter what. Unfortunately, whether or not your parents have your birth certificate or your social security card does not affect whether or not they will take you home. Police typically do not actively search for a runaway youth. However, they will go where the parent/guardian directs them if they know where you are staying. Additionally, police can sometimes be more lenient about runaway situations the closer you are to 18. You can attempt to calmly, respectfully, and persistently deny them consent to touch you or take you anywhere, and they may give up on trying to return you home. They also may not, in which case you should comply with what they tell you to do for your safety.

      If you want to talk more about what is going on and what options you might have, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS

  • #22
    Can my grandma call the cops on me as a runaway if I don’t live with her

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      We are not legal experts but we can speak on this generally. 18 is usually the age you are able to leave without the permission of your parents or guardians. Until you turn 18, your legal guardian can report you as a runaway to the police if you leave without permission. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means police would notify your legal guardian if you are found. You mentioned a concern that your grandma might report you as a runaway even though you do not live with her. We are not quite sure what your living situation is or who your legal guardian is, so we cannot give a specific answer to this. Your grandma could potentially report you as a runaway to the police. However, in the event you are found by police it would be up to your legal guardian to decide where you live.

      We hope this information helps. If you have any more questions or would like to talk more about your situation, please do not hesitate to reach out by phone or through live chat. 1-800-786-2929; 1800runaway.org

      Be safe,
      NRS

  • #23
    If I run away and the cops find me and I tell them I don’t feel safe do I have to go back home.

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is our understanding that the police will return you back home unless there is clear evidence that you are unsafe there. It might be helpful to talk more about what is going on. We would be happy to help you figure out what options there might be in your situation. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-786-2929 or chat with us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS

  • #24
    I am 17, 18 in 5 months, and live in a toxic household. its been a problem for the longest time i can remember, my guardian (my grandmom) has always emotionally neglected me, emotionally abused me, put me down, and today she threatened to call the cops on me for ‘harrassment’ for simply standing up for myself over an argument about my room being messy. theres so so so much more than that, but i cant fit it all in. i cant stand it anymore. she even kicked my brother out tonight since he just turned 18 not even a week ago.

    i at the very least just want to get away for a few days, but i cant go anywhere. my boyfriend and his family agreed to let me stay for as long as i needed to/could because of situations, so if i could, i wanted to just leave for a few nights until things calm down more because i dont know what could happen. currently typing this i have my door barricaded because she tried busting my door down earlier.

    so my questions are ; is there a way for me to leave and stay the night for a few days without her calling me in as a runaway or without anyone getting in trouble? if i left a note of where i went as well, would that help anything?

    and to anyone suggesting emancipation; i don’t believe i can do that. she has complete control over me, and wont let me drive or work, and ive read somewhere that in order to get emancipated, you have to have proof that you can financially support yourself, and i simply cant at the moment.

    any advice helps, thank you.

    Comment


    • ccsmod7
      ccsmod7 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there, thanks for reaching out. Sounds like it has been a pretty awful night. with your grandmom treating you like that and kicking out your brother. Here at NRS, we truly want to be a support for you during this difficult time.

      We are not legal experts, but generally speaking, the easiest way you can leave home is with permission or if they do not file you as a runaway with local police as an older 17 year old. Since they kicked out your brother, you might try to see if they would let you stay elsewhere like with him. Unfortunately, it does not sound like the emancipation court process could be an option for you due to only having 5 months until you turn 18 and no income.

      Answers to your questions:
      There is no way to guarantee that she won't report you as a runaway if you do leave home before you turn 18. Generally speaking, whenever you leave home without permission before turning 18 she can file you as a runaway. What could change is how local police respond to the runaway report, since you are 17.5 it's possible that they might not actively look for you or return you home if found. However, they typically would return you home so you might not want to rely on that possibility. It can help to talk to local police in your area to see how they would respond to a situation like yours by reaching out to the local nonemergency police number (www.usacops.com). Leaving a note would not change what could happen. But it would generally signal that you left on your own accord rather than something bad happening to you.

      Please don't hesitate to call or chat us now if you want to debrief the night, our phone lines and live chat services are open, and you deserve some support after that. We can also try to brainstorm other options with you, and look for local resources that might be able to help.

      Best,

      NRS

  • #25
    hi im 16 i live with my grandparents in Texas i just cant take it anymore my step grandpa is just so confusing at one moment hes as nice as he could be then the next hes in your face screaming at you telling me im stupid or something like that hes lived with me for 5 years now my mantel health is just detreating hes 70 but was a cop for 22 years we got physical once i have a scare on my back now i dont want to report him cose my grandma is happy for once but i dont think so anymore he will degrade her if she tries to stick up for me i want to leave but i live in a small town and im in texas so i couldnt cros the border cose its so big i know if im under 18 i cant but i need help i cant take it anymore also i cant talk here cose im on a school computer and i cant on my phone it has parental control just send me an email i feel like i dont have any conrol in my life
    Last edited by ccsmod15; 02-01-2021, 04:08 PM. Reason: Removed personal identifying info.

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 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 and you mentioned being harmed. We’re sorry you’re going through this. You don't deserve to be hurt 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. You may also be able to report any mistreatment to CPS. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. They can tell you more about how CPS could respond to your situation. If you ever need assistance calling out to CPS to make an abuse or neglect report please call is at 1-800-RUNAWAY. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often harder to provide evidence for compared to physical abuse which is often what CPS relies on when conducting an abuse investigation. That said, we can’t be 100% sure what the outcome will be if your local CPS decides to open a case based on what you share. Sometimes CPS decides to remove minors from the home and other times they offer services such as family counseling or mediation instead. The only way to know the outcome might be to reach out to them directly and if you’re ready to do that we are here to help you through that process.
      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.
      If you would like to talk more in detail please chat soon through our website www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button) if you are unable to call in. We unfortunately cannot give advice as we are non-directive. You know your situation best
      We hope to hear from you soon.
      Be safe,
      NRS

  • #26
    Im 14 and my parents are separated and i have been going through things at home. My dad wont let me go places but he lets my brother go anywhere he wants. I am getting emotionally abused and i want to run away but if my dad files a run away report wi i have to go back to him. If i am living in a good environment and still going to school can i still stay at the place i choose to stay at?

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us here at NRS. It sounds like there is a lot that you are faced with at home and you are thinking that leaving might be your best option. You mentioned that you have had a lot of problems and stress going on at home which can definitely get overwhelming. Home is supposed to be somewhere you can feel safe and you deserve to feel supported.

      It seems you are interested in learning more about runaway laws. 18 is usually the age you are able to leave home without permission. In the event that you decide to leave without permission, your parents can choose to report you as a runaway. You will not get into any legal trouble, but the police would most likely return you home. Where you live is generally not up to police, so they would have to bring you back home even if you are somewhere safe. One way to avoid this would be to get your parent's permission to live somewhere else. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or another trusted adult who could help to communicate how you’re feeling to your parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. If this is the case you can speak with an advocate at an organization called Child Help to learn more about what the reporting process might look like for you and what CPS could possibly do to help, www.childhelp.org.

      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.

      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).

      Be safe and stay strong,
      NRS

  • #27
    I'm staying at a friends and my grandma knows where I am, just not the address. Well, my brothers threatening to call 911 an file me as a runaway. What do I do? I'm scared.

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 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 seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Your brother will likely not have guardianship over you to be able to make a report, it can only be done by your guardian. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
      Be safe,
      NRS

  • #28
    so my parents are divorced. i turn 18 in 4 months and live with my father who is an emotional abuser and i feel mentally and sometimes physically unsafe in my home. if i run away to my mothers (who had majority custody). could my father still legally get me back even if it is now my own decision and i am about to be an adult anyway?

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 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 seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Since your mom has majority custody it is likely that your dad cannot make a runaway report though since your mom has a legal right for you to stay with her still. It would potentially turn into more of a court battle so police may choose to not get involved. To check and make sure you may want to reach out to a legal expert of some kind through legal aid services.
      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
      Be safe,
      NRS

  • #29
    I am 16 about to be 17 in September and I want to leave my dad's house. I have been going through mental abuse since I was 6 years old and I can't deal with it anymore. If I went to my mom's and stayed there on my dad's week, or went somewhere safe, would I get in trouble? I would still be able to attend school as well. I just really need to get out of this situation.

    Comment


    • ccsmod5
      ccsmod5 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions. You may find it helpful to find out if your mom has any custody over you, so then you would still be with a legal guardian.
      You mentioned experiencing emotional abuse which may be reportable against your dad. Please keep in mind you by no means deserve any type of abuse, emotional or otherwise. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often harder to provide evidence for compared to physical abuse which is often what CPS relies on when conducting an abuse investigation. That said, we can’t be 100% sure what the outcome will be if your local CPS decides to open a case based on what you share. Sometimes CPS decides to remove minors from the home and other times they offer services such as family counseling or mediation instead. The only way to know the outcome might be to reach out to them directly and if you’re ready to do that we are here to help you through that process. Reaching out to Child Help USA at 1-800-422-4453 or www.childhelp.org may help to get a better understanding of what may happen before and after a report is made.
      We hope this helps. Please reach out if we can offer any further support.
      Be safe,
      NRS

  • #30
    I am 15 and live in Georgia and i am planning on go to another state but when i go to the airport would they need my parents permission

    Comment


    • ccsmod16
      ccsmod16 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi,
      Thanks for reaching out, we are glad that you did. It sounds like there is something going on at home that is making you want to leave. And your plan is to fly to another state. Each airline will have their own policies about minors flying alone. You will need to present identification and a driver's license or state ID are most common. At 15, you may not have either of those.
      Also, you didn't mention your plan for where you would live in the other state, which is troubling to us, since thinking of a place to runaway to is a big hurdle for most youth we talk with.
      We hope very much that you will reach out to one of our platforms where we can have a conversation about this. You can either call out hotline at 1-800-786-2929 (1-800-RUNAWAY) or via live chat through this website. We are here to help keep youth safe and off the streets, so we hope to hear from you soon.
      Sincerely,
      NRS
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