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Running away across state lines

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  • Running away across state lines

    Im 17 and am having a very hard time living at home. I live with my sister, who tends to act in a controlling manner and basically tries to ultimately control my life. She does anything from the little things like making me out to be a liar and a manipulator when all I ever do is tell the truth, to things like mentally and emotionally berating me and wearing me down for things that are either out of my control, things I try to take self-advocacy for, or things that she just believes Im basically an idiot for. The words "stupid" or "idiot" never leave her mouth, but she talks to me like I have the mental capacity of a 7 year old or younger. Its a very challenging environment because of her constant obsession of controlling every aspect of my life and the emotional tear down.

    I have family in Colorado, where I grew up and lived for years before I was moved out to California in a guardianship move. I am going back to visit my family in November, but am pretty sure that Im not going to be able to hold out that long before I can't mentally or emotionally take it anymore, as my grades in school are already beginning to slip and I've also developed speech problems that are greatly impacting me on a mental level as a result everything going on. I will probably be leaving sooner than that at this rate, and plan on going into hiding, but Im worried about possible law enforcement intervention. I guess my question is can runaway cases be crossed over across states and if so, what is the law enforcement involvement in those instances?

  • #2
    Running away across state lines

    Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.
    It sounds like you have been feeling pretty worn down by what has been going on at home with your sister. It can be deflating to have someone constantly attacking your self esteem.
    You do not deserve to be talked down to by anyone or be made to feel dominated.
    You are showing signs of strength by reaching out and speaking about your situation.
    Good for you.

    In answer to your question about running away across state lines and how involved the police would be in this situation we can only inform you that once there is a runaway report filed your information is placed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). In the case of a runaway who is in the NCIC data base they might be detained by law enforcement (in any state) and have their guardian contacted.
    There may also be written laws pertaining to consequences to those found to be aiding or harboring a runaway.
    Does that make sense?
    We hope that this answers your question. We also wish you the best in coming to a positive resolution to your situation. Communication is key in having positive relationships be it family or friends etc.
    You deserve to be respected in the way someone talks to you it is not your fault that your sister chooses to communicate with you in such a negative fashion.

    Perhaps conflict mediation or counseling could be an option to explore if things continue as they have been. We may be able to locate services of this nature in your area through our national data base.
    How does that sound?

    Please give NRS a call at our 24hr crisis hotline at 1-800-Runaway (786-2929) if you would like to explore these options.
    You can also visit our website at and visit our Live Chat service to obtain this information or discuss your situation.

    We thank you again for contacting NRS.
    Take care
    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!


    • #3
      I don't know how to post my own post, so I'm replying to this one.
      I am 17 years old and am a resident of Washington, USA. I currently live with my parents. This summer when we go on vacation to New York, I plan on leaving them and taking a bus without their permission to New Hampshire, where I will stay with my 19 year old boyfriend and his parents for two months. Again to sum up, I will be leaving my parents without their permission and staying with my boyfriends family for two months in NH. I’m not looking for a lesson on morals, just simply my legal rights and what my parents are capeable to do about this. What can my parents legally do about this? Will his parents get in trouble for letting me stay? Are there any other potential consequences we may face?


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thanks for reaching out National Runaway Safeline and sharing about what is going appreciate your openness and honesty. We aren’t legal experts, but we have general knowledge about running away. In most states, running away isn’t illegal, but what is called a status offense. You can’t get arrested for it but it will mostly likely go on your record until you are 18. The police will only know if you have runaway if your parents/guardians file a police report. Since you are 17, it may impact how the police view you and if you are in a safe place so we can’t say for sure how the police will respond, but we hear a lot that police will take potential places you might be and will actively search for you. If they come across you, the most likely will return you home to your parents. Sometimes we hear that if you are staying with someone who knows you are a runaway and are not actively trying to return you or finding shelter for you, your guardians/or police can press charges against the people who are housing you, with something that is called harboring.

        One of our main goals is to make sure you are safe, so if you ever become homeless and need shelter, resources, or a safe place to go you can find safe locations at or reach out to us directly and we can find local resources in your area.
        We are here for you and will support you in any way that we can. Please feel free to call into us directly as we can talk further about your situation and find resources that are best for you in your area. Stay strong and you are not alone in this! Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY we are open 24/7.


        We hope this response was helpful! We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/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.

        Tell us what you think about your experience!

    • #4
      Hi, I am 16 years old, I lived in Wisco since before I got sent down to Missouri. Me and my family do not get along whatsoever. My step dad threatens me, he’s physically done harm to me (last year mainly), and they all just overall mentally and physically drain me. If I look at him a certain way or do anything, he gets mad and they actually ended up sending me to live with my grandparents in Missouri. Ever since my step dad stepped into the story 14-15 years ago, he’s done nothing but made me feel worthless. He talks me down, he’s over controlling, and so much more. I have almost ended my life many times by him and his words. He threatened to slit my throat if I talked to my little sister or anyone else in the family. Although, in Missouri, my grandparents are treating me well, I can’t stay. I want to runaway here in a few weeks and go to a different state. I’ve done my research for the past year or so but I still don’t know what to do exactly. I just know that no matter what, I will not return to my parents or any other relatives. I already have a secure job for where I’m going, I’ll have a secure place to live, and I’m mature and ready enough to be on my own! But I’ve reached out to my counselor but she says to just cope with it. I have been for the past 14-15 years. I would like you’re thoughts on my actions that I will futuristically take.


      • 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, and we want you to know that you are not alone.
        You do not deserve to be physically harmed or have threats made against you, and you do have the right to make a report. You can make a report by calling Child Help at: 1800-422-4453 and they would be able to help you make a report. We can also help with a report through chat or by calling us at 1800-786-2929.
        We are not legal experts but we do have some information on the laws. If you were to leave home without permission, your legal guardian does have the right to file a runaway report. Because you are a minor it is a possibility that you could be brought back home. It is a big decision to make, and because you know your situation best only you can make that decision for yourself.
        We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore more options, please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. Best of luck!

    • #5
      Hi I'm 16 years old and I'm in a toxic household and I want to get out. My dad moved me from California to North Carolina claiming everything will be better there. I've tried to be positive and make things easy but when I decided to tell him about how I feel emotionally he degrades me and plays the victim. He told me "I'm going to make your life worse" and I don't know what to do. I'm scared to stay here any longer and the process of emancipation is long. He has hit me once before and has threatened to do it again. I have close family friends who are in California and can help support me in many ways than one. I just don't know what to do until then. My dad isn't even home he has a travel job so he leaves me here with his fiancé and her family. My older sister does stay in the apartment with me and his fiancé but we get into arguments too and since she's my dad's favorite he isn't has strict with her. I feel like I'm not able to express any other emotion besides playing the part of the happy caring daughter. I'm scared of what my dad could do, my mental health is already bad but it was getting better before we moved. I was finally able to slowly move on and gain happiness. Until the move, I know feel completely alone as my dad left for work in a place where the people I'm with think it's funny to fat shame, etc. I just want to be happy again but I can't do it here. Every time I try talking to my dad it always results in him isolating me from the world until I say what he wants me to say. Please I need help and I don't know how much longer I can last here and considered running away to California. I'm currently working to save up money. I'm afraid that by running away the people I choose to stay with will get in trouble and I don't want that. Please help think of a situation where I can get out without hurting the people I care about. I have frequent thoughts of suicide and since moving to NC I have no one to confide in because I left behind all the people I trusted in California. I try to talk to them as much as I can but I'm afraid of what my dad will do if he finds out so it's very limited. He doesn't like when I share our business with anyone and I will get in even worse trouble if he finds me out. I'm completely alone out here, I know I have my sister but she's thriving here better than she did in California and I don't want to take that from here. I wish that was the case for me but it's not. It's been getting harder to even get out of bed and I have no one here to support me. My dad manipulates me into thinking everything will be different and things will change but nothing ever does. Please help. I'm running out of options.


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        You mentioned wanting to know how you can leave home before turning 18. The easiest way to leave home is with your dad’s 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 dad. 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.

        It sounds like you’re fearing that the situation may end in suicide if things don’t change. Your safety and well-being is important. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255); is also a great resource to reach out to in addition to our crisis services.
        Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This may be an isolating and lonely time for you, but 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 call or chat soon. Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (click on the chat button).
        We hope to hear from you soon.
        Be safe and stay strong,
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