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Runaway at 16.

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  • Runaway at 16. I'm 16 years old, 17 in 6 months and I have plans to runaway in July but obviously I'm not 100% on them. I'm in North Carolina and I've been told so many different things about the runaway laws. I plan on leaving the state and everything. My mom drinks a lot and she's a very angry drunk, she always takes her anger out on me and it really sucks. My dad is just an asshole...he had been molesting me for a few months and it stopped but it had still left some really bad emotional problems... I'm ready to get out of here but I need to know exactly the laws for runaways here.

  • #2

    Thanks so much for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you're in a very stressful situation at home. It is not okay for your parents to treat you that way, and no one should feel unsafe physically or emotionally at home. It's very brave of you to reach out for help.

    We are not legal experts but we can speak in general terms about what could happen if you were to leave without your parents’ permission. Since you are 16 in North Carolina, you are considered a minor. To start off, running away is not a criminal offense, but a status offense. If you were to leave without their consent, then they would have an option of filing a runaway report with the police. This lets the police know that they cannot be legally responsible for you because you left without their permission. If you are found, then the police would likely bring you back to your parents. If you are found at a family member or friend’s house, then your parents may have the option of charging that person with harboring a runaway, which is a misdemeanor offense.

    You also mentioned that your mom takes out her anger on you, and that your dad has been molesting you. It is not okay for you to be treated this way at home. If you would like to talk to someone about what's going on at home, you are more than welcome to call our 24/7, anonymous, and confidential hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY, or chat with us from 4:30-11:30PM CST. Another hotline that you can use as a resource would be Child Help, which is a National Child Abuse Hotline. Their number is 1-800-422-4453. It sounds like there is some abuse going on at home, and if that's the case, you also have the option of filing a child abuse report. If that is something that interests you, or if you want to know more information about it, feel free to give us a call, and we can help you go through the process.

    If you would like to further discuss these issues or get any help calling these resources, please give us a call here at 1-800-RUNAWAY, or through our chat services available online from 4:30-11:30PM CST. We're here to help, so feel free to reach out to us at any time. 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)


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