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  • Help for family member that is runaway

    I have a family member who has run away. She is 17 and will not be 18 until late 2014. Her mother is abusive verbally and is an alcoholic (drinking more than a handle of hard alcohol every two days). Her stepfather is insisting on "getting her in legal trouble as a form of teaching her a lesson". He does not work and does not even see or take care of his own children. Her parents get alot of monthly support for social security from her real father who has passed away. She is not allowed freedoms (cant even use the bathroom without her parents walking in to check on her - even opening the shower curtain while she showers-not sexually-but still not acceptable). Fights often turn physical on both of their parts. The only company she has is her moms friends who often come over and drink themselves to falling down - the entire time talking about how bad my family member is and how she is on drugs, and sexually active and how bad she treats her parents. All the while she must sit and listen to this as she is not trusted to be elsewhere. It is not abusive to make her sit there while her parents and their freinds just humiliate her over and over. She is having a hard time in school due to all the upheaval at home. She is not using drugs despite her parents blasting all over facebook and the neighborhood that she is. I know this because another person in our family gave her the $50 home drug test and she tested negative for everything. She has run away several times and this last time has been gone for over 3 months. She lives in Indiana. Her parents have told her that they will press federal charges against anyone that helps her. They are harrassing her boyfriend and even brought the police to his house to have him arrested for "contributing to the deliquency of a minor". They had to drop charges though because he was not with her.

    I have received a call from her to let me know she is ok, but it was blocked and she will not tell me where she is. She is also now pregnant and terrified that if she gets caught as a runaway that her parents will have her go to juvinelle detention as threatened and they will either make her have an abortion or much more terrifying that her mom will get custody of her baby. I want to help, but do not know how. She is supposed to call again to let me know she is ok. She has other family members who are responsible and wanting to take her in, but she is afraid she will get them in trouble.

    Is there a way that she can legally go to another family member? If she tries to get her GED will that cause them to find her? She is even worried that if she gets another job, they can find her from having to give her drivers license or social security card. She wants to get health care for her and the baby and she is worried they will find her. Who should she call and will they be able to help her or does she just have to continue hiding? Her mom will not let her live somewhere else - we dont know if it is because of the money she gets for her each month or that she is just trying to continue to control everything she does, thinks, says and who she talks to.

    She is smart and sweet and scared. She is not perfect - but no one is. She should not have to live in that enviornment and now life is going to be much harder on her than it should. She wants to go to college and have a career and not to live like her mother does.

    Please offer help and suggestions.

  • #2
    Re: Help for family member that is a runaway

    Thank you for reaching out and telling your story. It sounds like your family member is going through an awful lot right now and it’s understandable that you are concerned and want to support her in any way that you can. You mentioned that she currently is on the run and seems to be in a safe place which is good to hear. There is obviously a lot of abuse going on at home, especially in regards to her mother. Do you know if she has ever tried to report the abuse or spoken with someone at Child Protective Services (CPS)? If she is being abused in any way she certainly has the right to make that report if that is something she would want to do. It’s not a guarantee that CPS would take her out of the home but they may be able to help advocate for her and set up services to help.

    It sounds like the biggest concern is she does have people who are trying to help but she doesn’t want to get anyone in trouble and she herself does not want to suffer too many consequences. In most states the age of majority, when a youth is considered an adult and can leave home without permission, is 18. 17 can be a tricky age though. For example we often hear that while the legal age of majority is 18, at 17 some local police no longer take runaway reports or make the youth return home if they leave without permission. Usually contacting the local police is the best way to find out the most accurate information for your area. In regards to getting in trouble, running away itself is not usually considered a crime. What usually happens if a youth is found by the police is they will most likely just bring them home. The tricky thing is there is such a thing as harboring a runaway/minor and often times it is the parents who have to press the charges. It sounds like her parents are very willing to go after anyone who is helping so it’s understandable that is a concern for her. It may be helpful to even talk with a lawyer about those specific laws.

    It also sounds like one of the big concerns is she just found out she was pregnant and is concerned about her parents making her have an abortion or trying to take custody. She certainly does have rights to her child. One resource that may be able to give her more information on that, especially if she wants to keep the baby, is Birthright. There 24 hour hotline is 1-800-550-4900.

    Now we are not lawyers here so it’s difficult to give you any real legal information. But there is always someone here to help if you would like to discuss your situation more in depth or even pass our number along to your family member. If you would like to talk with someone directly you can call us at our 24 hour hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We also have an online live chat that is available from 4:30p to 11:30p CST. All of our services are completely confidential and anonymous. There is always someone here to provide support, discuss options, and even find helpful resources in the area if needed. Feel free to reach out anytime. 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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      13 going to run away

      My parents act so mean to me She's like my at home bully it medium bad and my dad believes my moms always right but he doesnt know plans to live with cousin help

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 13 going to run away

        Hi there,
        Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you’re going through a tough time, and we’re glad you were able to talk with us about it. We are here to listen and here to support you in any way we can.

        We aren’t legal experts here, but because you’re considered a minor, your parents could file a runaway report. Basically what that means is that the police know you’ve left and they would probably bring you back home. Running away is not a crime, but anyone who lets you to stay with them could get in legal trouble for harboring a runaway. You may want to make sure your cousin would be comfortable with that.

        That being said, you definitely deserve to feel safe at home. If you feel comfortable doing so, maybe you could talk to your parents about how they make you feel. We aren’t exactly sure what your situation is at home, but if you want to talk about it more so that we can better help you, give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We can help you brainstorm how to have a conversation with your parents or find you other resources. You may also consider reaching out to a teacher, coach, or trusted adult about your situation.

        We hope you are safe at home. Please give us a call anytime if you need to talk to someone; we are available 24/7.

        -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)
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #5
          I’m 17.
          My step mom digs through my stuff and takes things after almost every major argument while I’m not home. She and my dad laughed in my face when I said I wanted to move out. My dad in a way gave me permission because he told me to “move to my grandmas so it’d be easier for her to wipe my ass”. I plan on running to her and my grandpas house, will they get in trouble with the law for letting me move in without my parents consent and can the cops take me from them?

          Comment


          • ccsmod0
            ccsmod0
            Super Moderator
            ccsmod0 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello,
            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. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. It must be hard to live in a house where your privacy is being invaded Home should be a place where you feel safe and welcome. From what you have mentioned it sounds like after an argument your father –in more or less words- told you that you can go and live with your grandparents. While we are not legal experts nor are we affiliated with the police so we can only speak generally about what could happen if a youth leaves home without the consent of a guardian. Leaving home without parental consent (running away) is not a crime, so the police will not arrest you. If you do leave home without permission your guardian does have the right to file a runaway report. Running away is not a crime it is a status offence (something that only a minor can get in trouble for: truancy, buying cigarettes, etc.) this means that if you have any interaction with the police they will simply return you home. On the other hand the people that you are found to be staying with could face legal consequences that vary depending on your state. You can find out more about how runaway’s reports are carried out by contacting your local police department. We say this because at the age of 17 it is a grey area if police will actively look for a youth.
            Again, you deserve to be treated with respect and if you want to talk more about what you’re experiencing you are more than welcome to give us a call anytime. 1-800-786-2929
            Best wishes,
            NRS

        • #6
          Hi, I’m 14 years old. My mom is not a good person, in the past she has left me alone for days to weeks with no food, she yells all the time and insults me for my gender, body, and mental health. I am depressed and suicidal. Thanks giving is coming up and my mother has banned me from ever seeing my grandparents again as a punishment for expressing my want to love with them, so with thanksgiving I really want to run away to my grandparents house. I know I shouldn’t but I am suffering here and being away from them on thanksgiving would make my life awful. Though I’m really worried about my grandparents getting in trouble, can they get in trouble I’ve looked on google and I can’t find the answers I’m looking for. Please give me a bit of advice on the subject. Thanks so much

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15
            Super Moderator
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello! Thank you do much for reaching out.

            You mentioned that your mom neglects you for days at a time, and that she emotionally/ mentally abuses you. You’re really brave for sharing this type of information, and we want you to know that you’re not alone. With that being said, you may want to explore the option of talking to someone in school about the abuse, and see what options they have for you. You can also reach out to the national child abuse hotline at 1800) 422-4453, and talk to them about the neglect going on in your home. You don’t have to disclose your personal information, unless you want to do a child abuse report.

            Along those same lines, you said that you have a bond with your grandparents, and you want to go visit them, even though your mom has prohibited you from doing so. We’re not legal experts, but in most states, anyone under 18 is considered a minor. If you decide to leave your house on your own, without letting your mom know that you’re going to go with your grandparents, your mom can file a runaway report with the authorities. Your grandparents may face some charges for harboring a runaway. You may explore the option of talking to your grandparents, and coming up with ways for you guys to approach your mom.

            We hope that the information provided to you has been of some help. If you need additional help, or want us to call somewhere on your behalf, you can reach out to us anytime 24/7 at 1800)786-2929. Best of luck!

        • #7
          I have a sister who is being abused in a foster home but she's only 13 and ran from the foster home what can I do to help her can she stay with me ?

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15
            Super Moderator
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello there,
            Thanks for reaching out to us. Your sister does not deserve to be treated that way. You are awesome for being able to advocate for her and seek out the help she needs. She is lucky to have you in her life. The abuse going on at the foster home is not okay in any way, shape or form. You can report the abuse by calling us directly or you can call Child Help and they can help report as well. Their number is 800-422-4453. They also have a live chat at www.childhelp.org.
            We are not legal experts so we cannot give you a definite answer on what would happen if she came and stay with you. Typically, if a youth were to runaway and there legal guardians did not give them permission to stay somewhere they could press charges against whomever they were staying with, harboring a runaway. In this case I am not exactly sure how it would be handled. You can always reach out anonymously to your local police department's non emergency number and ask them how they would handle the situation.
            We unfortunately can only respond to forums twice so if you need anything further you can always call us at 1800-RUNAWAY or chat with us at www.1800runaway.org.
            Take care,
            NRS

        • #8
          Hi, i'm 17 years old and I need help. My cousin has runaway, he's my best friend and i don't want anything bad to happen to him. He left a not saying no one should look for him and he mentioned that he left the state, but he says he's in a safe place and he refused to talk to anyone but me and I really don't know what to do. He says he would return but after six months. We are in 12th grade and we have a big exam coming in six months. I feel like he's trying to escape writing that exam but he was alone when he ran and he mentioned to me that we abandon him a lot at home. I need help please what do I do? please anybody

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7
            Super Moderator
            ccsmod7 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 your cousin is faced with right now. It sounds like you and your cousin have a really strong, trusted relationship and that you are someone he feels safe confiding in.

            Having a space to vent and explore options may often bring out a solution previously not thought of. We are here as support to help you and your cousin through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon. It may also be helpful to reach out to a coach, teacher, or other trusted adult about your cousin's situation.

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

            We’re here to listen and to help and hope you or your cousin can reach out soon.

            Take care,
            NRS
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