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Is running away with a child of the age of 13 illegal?

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  • Is running away with a child of the age of 13 illegal?

    Me and my sister (13) are being sent away from home because our mother decides she does not want us home. So i thought that maybe we could leave where we would be sent to and stay away for at least 3 weeks. I am 17 and i want to know if I will be arrested for planning something like this and taking it into action. My boyfriend could be involved but i don't want to risk getting us arrested. We have a good reason for doing this. Is this illegal? Will me and my boyfriend get arrested if the cops are involved?

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    RE: Is running away with a child of the age of 13 illegal?

    Hi there,

    Thanks for contacting us today. It sounds like you’re going through a lot right now. It’s really smart of you to reach out for some support. You seem like a thoughtful person, who’s trying to do the best for you and your sister. So let’s see how we can help you out.

    So we’re not legal experts here, but we can speak to what might happen in general. First though, it is not illegal to runaway. In many states it’s just considered something called a “status offense”. That is something like a parking ticket (but without a fine!). If your mom decides to file a runaway report, and the police find you, what usually happens is that they would just return you home.

    Now things may be a bit different for your boyfriend. If you are staying with him, and your mom files a runaway report, then your mom has the right to charge the person that you are staying with, with something called “harboring a runaway”. The consequences for that range from a fine to jail time.

    We hope that this information is helpful to you. If you want to talk through more options, or have any questions about the above information, you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are here 24/7 and completely confidential and anonymous. That means we are here just for you. If you can’t call in, you can chat with us through our website ( from 4.30pm-11.30pm CST. We look forward to talking with you.

    You are a brave person for contacting us and we hope that we can return your bravery with helpful information and support.

    Best of luck to you,

    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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