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Thinking about leaving...what are my rights?

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  • ccsmod2
    Thank you for reaching out to us and telling us your story. It sounds like you are in a difficult situation right now and we’re sorry to hear that. Now, we aren’t legally trained here so we wouldn’t be able to give you any legal advice but we may be able to find you some resources that would be able to help you out.

    It sounds like you are currently living with your dad but are thinking of leaving home because he is physically abusive towards you. We are sorry to hear that, nobody deserves to feel unsafe while at home. It also sounds like he has gone to court on this issue but nothing has ever changed. Are we correct to assume that you have contacted Child Protective Services and file a report? That is definitely an option that you have and it is also something that we can help you with if you wish.

    You said that you had been working and had some money save up in order to leave but are concerned that he would try to track you down and force you back. If you were to leave, do you have a safe place to stay? One of the things we can do is to help you locate shelter or other safe place to stay if you need one. Just so you know though, many shelters would need consent from your legal guardian (in this case, your dad) since you are under the age of 18. What do you think he would do if you were to go to a shelter?

    Now, if you leave home, your dad may have the option to call the police and file a runaway report with them. Again, we aren’t legally trained here so we wouldn’t be able to give you any specifics but we may be able to tell you generally what may happen if you were to leave. If your dad does call and file a runaway report, it could possibly go into the NCIC (National Crime Information Center), which is a database for all police departments. Some departments will actively look for a runaway and some will not; it just depends on the jurisdiction and sometimes age does play a part in that. If the police did locate you, they may either call your dad to let him know or take you back home to the house. Generally speaking though, running away is considered a status offense and that is something you can’t do because you are still considered a minor but it isn’t usually illegal. If he were to file a report, you may be able to call the police and tell them you are safe but we can’t say for sure if that would work.

    We are completely confidential and anonymous so if you would like to call and talk with someone, you can reach us 24 hours a day. Our hotline number is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); we also have online chat services that are available from 4:30 PM-11:30 PM (CST) if you would rather talk with someone that way instead.

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

    ~ NRS

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    Guest started a topic Thinking about leaving...what are my rights?

    Thinking about leaving...what are my rights?

    I'm 16 (will be 17 in a few months) and I am thinking about leaving home. I live with my father. He is abusive and has been taken to court about this before, but nothing has ever been fixed. I have a job and have saved up enough money to move to someplace where I will be safe, but I'm worried that he will be able to track me down and force me to come back, even if I can support myself. I've thought about trying to get emancipated, but from what I know it's a lengthy process and I don't think I can wait too much longer. I also don't want him to know that I'm planning on leaving, which he would if I tried to get emancipated.

    Anyway, if I leave, will the police try to find me and force me to go back? Or will they not look too hard since I'll be 18 in a year or so? If my father tells them I'm a runaway, can I just call and say that I'm safe but I don't want to go back?
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