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Is running away legal at 20 years old?

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  • Is running away legal at 20 years old?

    I come from a very manipulative, narcissistic, racist family who makes a lot of money and tries to use it to keep me under their wing. I have been made out to feel like I'm never good enough for them no matter what I do in life. I feel like an outcast when I'm around them. They are just terrible people, and all of my friends and my boyfriend and his family agree with me. I just need to know if running away is legal and safe ways to do so. My dad can get very violent and I'm scared. They can't know what I'm doing or else my dad might hurt me. My boyfriend and his family have offered for me to come and live with them and they want to help me in any way they can. I just need to know all of the legal stuff before I go through with all of this. I've tried having mature conversations with them and I've tried reasoning with them for the past 5 years and I just can't do it anymore. In high school I wanted to commit suicide multiple times because they made me feel like I was nothing. And even though I'm 20 years old now, they still manage to make me feel that way about myself. And its either I run away and never look back, or I'm going to kill myself. Those are my only two outs in this situation.

  • #2
    It sounds like a really difficult situation to be in, so we're glad you're reaching out to us because we're here to help! You don't deserve to be treated that way by your family, and knowing the potential outcomes of running away is a good first step in getting out of that situation! You mentioned that your two outs are running away or killing yourself. We want you to know that we are here for you and and that we have resources that might be able to help you! If you would like to talk with one of our liners on the phone, we are here 24/7 at 1-800-RUN-AWAY (1-800-786-2929)!

    To your question about running away, we aren't legal experts, but we can tell you that running away is not illegal. If you were under 18 it could be considered a status offense if your parents were to file something called a 'Runaway Report' with the police that could allow them to press charges against anyone that took you in. Because you're no longer a minor and are over the age of 18, they are not able to file that report anymore! An option to find out more about what could happen legally is to call your local police station. They can share their protocol with you when someone who is 20 years old leaves home.

    You also mentioned that your dad can be violent, would you feel safe at your boyfriend's house if your dad should come around? Our main concern is that you are safe once you leave your family's house! In case that happens, have you and your boyfriends parents talked about their expectations from you or how long they'd be willing to have you live with them?

    If you would like to talk with one of our liners on the phone, we are here 24/7 at 1-800-RUN-AWAY (1-800-786-2929)! Another place for support during this difficult time is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
    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
      Can you runaway if you just turned 20 years old?

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). In most states, once a person is 18 they are considered legal adults and not runaways. A runaway is a minor that leaves home without their parent's permission. If you don't have a place to go, you could try asking other family members or friends if they would allow you to stay with them. We could also assist you in looking for resources such as transitional living programs or local shelters. If you have any additional questions or just need to talk, please feel free to contact us directly via our 24 hour crisis hotline (1-800-786-2929), email, or live chat.


        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 youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

    • #4
      So I wanna move in with my boyfriend and he is willing to help me out through all the consequences that will come with this. Hes planning on coming to get me at night and help me load my stuff up and we head out and leave my parents a note. I'm just scared of them trying to do something like hurt me or him and or drop me as their kid. I'm 20 years old and I just wanna experience what it's like out in the world with my boyfriend and keep my parents happy at the same time. I just dont know what to do. My anxiety has been through the roof all day. If you can help me out that would be so helpful. Thanks.

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello There,
        Thank you for contacting The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a difficult time. It is understandable that you want to experience the world and living with your boyfriend at 20 years old.
        We are not legal experts but we do have general knowledge of the laws. In most states the age of majority is 18 years old, so it would be legal for you to leave home at 20 years old. It is understandable to be afraid that something may happen or to upset your parents. One option that you could consider is talking with your parents before leaving home. We know that is conversation may be scary at NRS we offer conference calling. If you call us we would be able to call out to your parents and have a conference call. Conference calling allows you to be heard and we are there to provide support.
        If you are worried about your safety when leaving you can always call the local police. Usually they will send out a police escort. A police escort will stay until you leave to make sure you are safe.
        We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore your options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and provide support to you. We wish you the best of luck!
        NRS

    • #5
      can I runaway at the age of 21

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello,

        Thank you for contacting NRS. Generally speaking, you are considered an adult at age 21. This means that you have the legal freedom to choose where you live. If you choose to leave home, you would not be considered a runaway.

        If you would like to talk more in detail about your situation or you would like to be connected to resources that might be of some help, please call or chat with us anytime.

        Good luck,
        NRS

    • #6
      So I’m 21 years old and I wanna leave home...I’m just so fed up with the yelling and arguing with my parents. My boyfriends mom is willing to take me in her home so I can be somewhere were I’m not stressed or have to hear any arguing all the time. I wanna live with my boyfriend and experience the world with him. I wanna be happy and have communicate with my family still,I just don’t know what to do anymore... I’m stressed, frustrated and my anxiety is really bad thinking about all the things that can happen. I don’t know when I’m leaving but I’m leaving during the night or day when no ones home. I keep telling my parents that I’m leaving... but I am leaving, and leaving a note

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline and sharing a bit about what is going on. From what you shared, it sounds like your parents have been making home really stressful for you. You deserve to live somewhere that makes you feel safe and supported. The good news is that you are an adult and you have the legal freedom to choose where you live. Leaving can be a really difficult decision to make and it sounds like you have some concerns about leaving home.

        We truly want to be a support for you during this transition and challenging time. If you would like to talk more about your situation, we are here 24/7 to listen and help. Do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at www.1800runaway.org.

        Good luck,
        NRS

    • #7
      Can my parents file a runaway report if I’m 21? Will the police be involved? I’m worried about that...because I wanna leave home and I don’t know if they arrest me or force me to return home

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Generally speaking, you are considered an adult at age 21. This means that you have the legal freedom to choose where you live. If you choose to leave home, you would not be considered a runaway and your parents cannot report you as a runaway. Police would not force you back home as you are a legal adult.

        There is an exception to this if your parents have extended guardianship over you past the age of 18. This is usually in the case that you have a disability or other circumstance that makes you incapable of living independently or making decisions for yourself. If this is the case for you, then your parents may be able to prevent you from leaving.

        We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon.

        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (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, NRS
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