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  • #16
    Hi, I am 16 years old. I live in South Carolina. I currently live with my dad and step mom and two siblings. I am not happy living with them and I have made arrangements to live with a family member. I have researched online that I can leave at 16 and not be forced to go back to my house as long as where I go is safe and I am not in danger there and I can still do school and stuff, which is the situation with my family member. Is this true? Can I leave and not be forced to go home at 16?


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much for reaching out and taking the time to share. It’s great that you’re being proactive about your living situation, and it’s great that you’ve already made arrangements to live with a family member.
      Regarding your specific question about being forced to go home, we want to stress that we are not legal experts here at the NRS. That said, our understanding is that, as a 16 year old, your parents could file a runaway report, which could result in you being sent home. However, if your parents are okay with the arrangement, and you know they won’t file a runaway report, then you should probably be alright.
      Thanks again for reaching out to us. It takes a lot to ask for help, and you are trying to figure out what’s best for you which is good to see. I’m sorry if we couldn’t answer your specific question, but if you’d like to talk further about your situation, please don’t hesitate to chat or call with us. If you do choose to chat or call, we have some numbers available for legal resources within South Carolina that may be able to help. We’re here to listen and here to help.

  • #17
    Hello, im speaking on someone else's behalf due to them being afraid of their parents.
    The person in question, my girlfriend, is living at her home with her parents and younger brother. Whenever I am in a call with her or in an Xbox party with friends with her, we can always here her parents shouting at her daily, her brother and father mocking and and jesting at her, swearing at her and poking fun at her ability to play games. Calling her "Trash, Garbage, F**king moron" etc. the comments against her is very vulger, and this morning upon writing this, she called me saying that her dad had flipped out and threw a book, yelled at her, at her brother and then their mother, but all three blamed it on her. For the last year its been constant emotional abuse, which myself and at least 6 other people have heard. She is scared to go home anymore and wants to run away. She will be 17 this year and plans to run away to a friend of ours in illinois, since im in Britain. Im aware that in some cases it can result in legal reprecusions, but the amount of abuse is.. horrifying. She plans to continue her education after running, but will she, or we, face any criminal issues if we do so? Thank you


    • ccsmod5
      ccsmod5 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like your girlfriend is in a very difficult situation with her family. It must be very hard to watch someone you care about be mistreated in this way. She really deserves to feel safe and cared for in her own home. You say that she wants to go to Illinois but you don’t say where she currently lives. If she ever fears for her safety or wants to report abuse, she can call 911, or she can call Child Help (the National Child Abuse Hotline) at 1-800-422-4453. It’s important that she knows how to keep herself safe.
      You ask about the legality of her running away at 17. While we are not legal experts, we can say that the age of majority in most states is 18 (again, you don’t say where she lives). You can check the age in her state by going to the website This is age at which a young adult can legally leave home without their parent’s permission. While running away is not considered a crime, (it’s a status offense) if you girlfriend’s parents report her as missing, the police can find her and take her home. If she were to be kept from the police or her parents by an individual, there is a possibility that they could be charged with harboring a runaway.
      She is very fortunate to have you to support her; you sound like a very good boyfriend. You can give her our number here at NRS, and either of you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week, and we’re here to listen and help. We hope to hear from you soon.
      Take care,

  • #18
    I live in a house gold where I don’t feel loved or at “home” I was adopted by my aunt and her wife years ago, and fight with them frequently, I’ve ran away before and am thinking about it agian, I’m 16 and don’t know what to do, I want to go live with my boyfriend.


    • ccsmod10
      ccsmod10 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to us and telling us your story. It sounds like you are going through a very difficult time right now and we hope to be able to help. We want you to know that no one deserves to feel like they are not loved or at welcomed in their home. You should not have to go through that. We’re not legal experts here at NRS. Generally it’s not illegal to leave home, but your parents could file a runaway report, the police could get involved, and they could bring you home. The people you’re staying with could potentially get in trouble for harboring a minor. You could consider calling your local nonemergency police department to ask about their policies. We also have legal aid resources here if you have specific questions about the laws in your state.

      If you don’t feel safe and feel like you need to get away provides a safe location for you to meet a staff member who can take you to a designated place where you can discuss all options about how to stay safe. You can text 44357 the word “safe,” and your location to find a safe location in your area. Once you arrive let someone who works there know you need help connecting with a staff member.

      One service we can offer is to conference call with your parents. This way you could have a conversation with your parents but you would not be alone. For example, it may be hard for you to explain to your aunt how you feel about living with her and why you want to go live with your boyfriend. Sometimes those conversations go better in a conference call because we can advocate for you. If you want to reach us, you can chat with us anytime at or call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We’re here 24/7, and we are ready to listen and help however we can.

      Wish you the best

  • #19
    I’m 16 and live in South Carolina. I wanted to know if I can runaway.? Would I get in trouble? Or go to jail? Is it illegal running away?


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your parents/guardians can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your parents/guardians.

      It’s important to consider all the possibilities that can occur if you leave home. You will need to plan out how you will cover basic necessities like travel, food, clothing, etc. If you have a place to go in mind, it’s good to see what the expectations of the living arrangement will be like; rules, the amount of time you’re allowed to stay, if you’re expected to contribute financially, etc. This can all influence your decision to leave.

      If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

      All the best,

  • #20
    Hey I'm 17 yrs old and live in SC. I was wondering if I could move out without my parents permission or a parent consent. Without them calling the police and making me go back home. My question is can I move out at 17 legally?


    • ccsmod9
      ccsmod9 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 you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. 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).
      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
      Be safe,

  • #21
    Hi. I’m going to be 17 in three days. I live in an abusive house and mom won’t leave. My brother isn’t moving in with my biological father but I’m going into much senior year so I don’t want to move into another state. I plan on moving into my aunts house near my school after my birthday. DSS hasn’t helped us at all. Do you think they would make me go home if I can prove I’m safer there?


    • ccsmod7
      ccsmod7 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      We are glad you reached out to us, it takes a lot of courage to ask for help. It sounds like you have a really tough living situation. Any kind of abuse is not ok, you do not deserve to be treated that way. It also makes sense that you would want to graduate in the same school that you have been attending. It would be tough leaving your friends for that last year.

      If you can get your mom to agree to let you live with your aunt that’s called an alternative living situation. If you do that you might want to get your mom’s permission in writing, or check with you local police station to see if they have more formal documents she can sign.
      If you decide to leave without you mom’s permission, she could file a runaway report with the police. It is really up to your local police station to decide what they will do with it. It might be beneficial to have your aunt call your local police station to tell them your situation and see what they would do or suggest for your situation.

      Another option would be to file an abuse report. A good resource that could help with that is Child Help (1-800-422-4453). It sounds like you have tried to get help before, so they might be able to give you a little insight to help get something to work. They can also walk through the process of filing the abuse report with you.

      If you would like to discuss your situation any further we would be happy to talk with you 24/7, 1-800-RUN-AWAY, or chat from our website,

      Good Luck,

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