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14, In Florida, Planning to runaway. Is this legal?

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  • 14, In Florida, Planning to runaway. Is this legal?

    Hello, I am 14 and I live in Florida. I have been carefully considering running away for many months.

    The household I live in is perhaps not what would qualify as "dysfunctional", but it is very stressful and is unbearable to live in.

    My parents are not divorced, and no one has any addictions.

    But my father and mother never seem to get along -- in the time I have been planning this they have gotten worse and worse. My mother, frustrated by my father (not "helping in the household", leaving "too much work for her", and such) is often in a very bad mood -- which she takes out on my younger sister and I. She yells with little provocation, and when asked why she is yelling about something so simple (such as not offering to run a load of laundry) she consistently replies that she was not yelling, only raising her voice, and will proceed to lecture on why "this family" as she calls it is "not a happy, loving family" but instead a disorganized, everyone-for-themselves family.

    When my mother is really upset, she will begin to scream and yell, and will occasionally reach out and firmly grab me by the arm to make a point, or to prevent me from not listening to her entire speech -- I am not sure of which it is. She looks very, very frightening when she does this and can be incredibly loud. I remember several experiences of this as a child, and those experiences have built a fear of her into me and scar-d me. She often claims that I act as a "doormat" -- allowing other people to walk over me, when in truth she is the only one I behave this way around because trying to be more assertive only seems to earn me more yelling.

    That is not to say she doesn't act this way around my younger sister and my father -- the only difference with them is that she yells mostly at my sister when she is in the car, driving her someplace, and yells at my father in the kitchen. I have never seen her grab my father, but I remember very vividly many times that we were driving home from a grocery store or someplace, and my sister was bright red, tears streaming down her face as my mother yelled at her and shook her leg in the seat of the car.

    To be fair, she has not has an episode where she grabs my/my sisters arm recently. She has had a yelling episode recently.

    One other thing I should mention is that she seems to have a switch of sorts -- She can be so mad at one minute, but after three minutes she seems normal again. She often tells me to "move on and get over it" when I am feeling, well, doormatted, after a episode, not seeming to understand that I can't not be afraid, because I don't know when she'll burst next.

    I plan to run away for a 3-day, 2-night period, enough time to let my mom really think about the way she's treating everyone in the family, and see the stress it causes, and the effects. I plan to take basic things with me, and leave a note stating what I am doing. I have places to stay pre-picked out, but I am not sure if they are the best options for me. They are friends houses, but they are friends that my mom has never personally met or spoken to -- but she has seen me with them. She does not know their addresses.

    If I do not stay at each house for more than 24 hours, and spend the days in a public park or library, is this legal? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this work?

    Thank you for any and all help.

  • #2
    RE: 14, In Florida, Planning to runaway. Is this legal?

    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. It sounds like things are pretty stressful at home and you’re doing a good job at trying to maintain your composure. It’s unfortunate that you have to be subjected to yelling and screaming on a constant basis. No one deserves to have to deal with or witness that every day. Have the family ever been to counseling? Do you think family counseling would help improve the family’s relationship?

    Running away is not illegal; however your parents will have the right to file a runaway report if you decide to leave. Runaway reports are filed with local law enforcement agencies. Generally speaking, most states allow individuals or agencies up to 24 hours before they are required to contact a parent or guardian to obtain permission for the minor to remain in their care. Have you thought about going to a youth shelter?

    Our goal is to make sure youth are safe whether they decide to remain at home or leave. Running away can be a very difficult decision and it seems that you have given much thought to this idea.

    We would like for you to give us a call so we can explore additional options. We can be reached at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are confidential, anonymous, and available 24 hours 7 days. We hope that you remain safe regardless of your final decision.

    We wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing from you.

    ~NRS
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      Responding, same person.

      I have considered going to counseling or therapy, but when I have suggested this to my mother in the past she either laughs it off or becomes more upset and asks me over and over again if there is something so wrong that I (not the whole family, notice, just me, because I suggested it) need therapy.

      On another note, she has this weird obsession with life being "not good enough" for me. When I do not shower her with gratitude or constantly talk on and on about how much I love a certain item or place we recently went, it makes her very upset. She can be provoked into a yelling fit by this, as well. She often threatens to throw all my "crap" away so that I can see how good I "really have it". She does not seem to understand that just because the new book/shirt/meal isn't constantly talked about to everyone in hearing range does not mean that I don't appreciate it.

      Do "safe places" offer you 24 hours before they are required to contact your family if your are a minor in the state of florida? Also, if I am at my friends house for 12 hours, no more, will they get in any trouble with the law if I don't tell them why I am there?

      Thank you again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for getting back to us and giving us additional information. It sounds like you are in a stressful situation and hopefully, we will be able to help you out.

        You said that your mom asks you what makes you request therapy; have you ever talked to her about how you are feeling? Do you think talking to her is an option? We’re sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time with your mom. How long have you two had difficulties with your relationship?

        Most shelters require that a parent or guardian be contacted 24-48 hours after a youth arrives at the shelter. We can’t give you a specific answer about the legalities of staying with your friends and how long you can be there but if you would like to call us, we can help you locate resources who can give you some answers. We can also help you call those places to advocate for you.

        We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through chat, which is available from 4:30 PM-10:00 PM. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best of luck.

        ~NRS
        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

        Comment


        • #5
          Same person, responding.

          I did once attempt to talk to her about how I felt, in the 5th grade, after a particularly bad few weeks. She seemed to understand what I was trying to tell her, but when i tried to point out how she was the one causing it she somehow always managed to turn it back on me. My father tried to help me then, but she just yelled at him. At this time I feel that talking to her would be incredibly counter-productive.

          We have had difficulties since I was about 10. That was in the end of my 5th grade year, when my mom tried to home school me (I have since been going to public school). It was horrible for both of us -- my mom because I could not preform the way she wanted me to (she was attempting to use 7th grade work with me) and me because I did not understand any of what was going on with the lessons. Ever since she re-enrolled me in public school, our relationship has gone downhill.

          Do you have any links or phone numbers for the places which could help with the legalities? I find it's much easier to use links/posts/web blogs/forums because my mother cannot overhear.

          Thanks again.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 14, In Florida, Planning to runaway. Is this legal?

            Hi again,
            So it sounds like at this point you are pretty set on the plan you have come up with and you are mainly concerned about what can happen legally. It would be difficult to give you many specific places to call since we do not actually know where in Florida you are. You always have the option of calling the local police anonymously and asking them some legal questions about what they do in your area. They should be able to tell you what some of the consequences are since they are the ones who will be enforcing them. Theres a number we can give you for some other legal help but again, it may not be local to where you are.

            Gulf Coast Legal Services
            Phone number: 727-443-0657
            9:00am-5:00pm Monday to Friday

            At this point it seems in order for us to best help you think through your options and/or a safety plan it may be best to call us. We are here to help 24/7 and are also available via Chat.

            Please give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY so we can try to give you the best help we can.
            Good luck,
            NRS
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Same person, responding.

              Thank you for all the help you have offered me, and the answers.

              How do I use chat to speak with someone on this?

              Also, do police generally search the contents of a phone (i.e., print out texts/recent calls) when someone runs away?

              Thank you for all your help and support.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 14, in Florida, planning to runaway. Is this legal?

                Hi,
                Unfortunately we cannot say for sure what would happen if a police officer came upon a phone. It is quite possibly up to the discretion of the individual officer. This however is again something you would ask legal services.
                Chat is available from 4:30-10 CST every day or you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY 24/7. We are also free from a payphone.
                We wish you the best of luck,
                NRS
                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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Legal issues, and a personal question

                  Dear, national runaway helpline.

                  Would I be affected by Florida law if I ran away to another state, can my parents or guardians claim suspicion of crime if they have seen me pack to run away, what would a cop do to me if a search party found me after my parents filed run away, could a friend get in legal trouble if I stayed at there house for more than 24 hours and they didn't know about me running away from home (I realize that another anonymous user has already asked this but they did not get much of an answer).

                  Sincerely,
                  Anon)lutz)Florida)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    14,in Florida,Planning to runaway. Is this legal?

                    Hello,
                    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.

                    Sounds like you are having some difficulty at home that has you considering running away.
                    You seem to be concern about how you or others may be affected legally if you were to runaway and stay with an acquaintance. IS that right?

                    Well first let us inform you we are not legal experts so we cannot advice you about the law but we can give you a generalization of how the law concerning someone who has run away from home.
                    In most states running away is not a crime it is a status offense which basically means your parents have filed a runaway report with the local police department and that report gets placed in the police national data base N.C.I.C.; if you are picked up by the police they can detain you and contact your parents to come and pick you up. Once you have been recovered your name is taken out of the N.C.I.C.
                    It should not stay on your permanent record.

                    When it comes to someone providing a youth who is a runaway shelter or aiding them to avoid being caught it may be considered a crime punishable by law.
                    To receive more specifics about the laws as they pertain to running away or harboring/aiding someone who has run away in your state you may consider the option of contacting your local law enforcement non –emergency contact number to get more information.

                    We hope this information has answered your questions.
                    We thank you again for your post and if you would like to discuss your situation further you may contact our 24hr crisis line at 1-800-Runaway (786-2929).
                    Take Care,
                    NRS
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you run away as a minor and your parents file a run away report to the police BUT you are not caught until you re 18 what will happen? Will charges, if any, be dropped?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        RE: does a runaway report expire?

                        Hi there,

                        Thanks for posting today. It sounds like you’re worried about a police response to leaving your parent’s house. So we aren’t legal experts here, but we can talk about what might happen in general. If your parents decide to file a runaway report, the report will last until you are 18. Once you turn 18, you have a new set of rights (one of which is that you are able to live where you want) and the report is no longer valid.

                        Also, we just wanted to clarify that a runaway report is not a charge. It is not illegal to runaway. In many states it’s considered a “status offense”. That is basically like a parking ticket (but without the fine). In general, if the police were to find you, all they would do would be to return you back home.

                        If you have questions about this or want to talk through this information more, you can give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are here 24/7 and are completely confidential and anonymous. If calling isn’t your thing, you can chat with us through our website (www.1800runaway.org) from 4.30pm-11.30pm CST. We look forward to hearing from you.

                        Best of luck,

                        NRS
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          runway

                          Hi i was just wondering about running away when your 17. I have thought about it a really long time and i have been told that since I'm17 that the police will just take me back to where i live if they find out where i am. Is This true?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            re: runway

                            Hello there

                            Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. Generally speaking, if you are under the legal age of majority in your state and leave home without permission, you are considered a runaway. In general, the police do not actively search for runaways. However if you are listed as a runaway and come into contact with the police, chances are they will contact your parents/guardians to make arrangements for your return home.

                            We hope this information helps. Remember you can always give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are available 24/7 and we can also be reached via live chat between 4:30pm and 11:30pm CST.

                            Best Wishes
                            ~NRS
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              being held hostage and thinking of legal actions of ran away

                              what trouble could I get in if I ran away (I live in fl) and is there a way I could text NRS? I can't call in my dad's house.. I could get caught.. but I'm suffering from depression and BRUTAL verbal abuse at my dads house. he has caused me to self harm. and I want to run away, I have what I need to but I just want to know what the police would do.. would I go to court.. would my parents get in trouble? I really want to live with my mom. she's the only cure for my depression. please help. if I stay at my dad's house I will commit suicide...

                              Comment

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