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My 17 year old girlfriend wants to leave home

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  • My 17 year old girlfriend wants to leave home

    Found this forum while researching legal repercussions. My girlfriend lives in Washington, and she is (in my opinion) in a pretty terrible situation at home. Being an extremely social person, she is homeschooled and never allowed to leave the house, except church activities and certain 'wholesome' classes approved by her father, by which he can easily monitor her. She also wants to get a job, and was finally allowed to do so, but is not allowed to keep her income and her parents threaten to take it away if she doesn't follow their strict set of instructions. She is not allowed any computer or technology use, and her dad on many occasions has said "you are not allowed to have friends" etc. He has forced her to sleep in a tent outside as well as constantly insulting me, her, and berating her constantly. She and I have researched the topic, and found nothing that I think technically qualifies as being illegal enough for CPS to take serious action, even though she has described her life to me as "not a life" and "living hell". I've also looked into her filling emancipation paperwork, as she is very experienced in child care and definitely mature enough to hold a job - even has someone willing to provide room and board for her. However, she is 16 and it looks like her dad can pretty much shoot down the court hearing. He will basically lie and do anything to keep her under his control.
    To make matters worse, her father finds some sort of religious justification in hating me, and has threatened to file a false rape charge against me or take legal action if I ever contact or set foot on his property again. She cried and fell into a depression for weeks after he came to my house and threatened my parents, including threats of physical violence (although I don't know if he would actually carry it out). I am 18 and currently in college in another state, and have respected her crazy father's wishes. But she is suffering and looking for any excuse to leave, and wants to run away and come live with me and work when she is 17. She says she will do anything to "be free", which I totally understand considering her awful situation. I have myself had awful relationships with my parents particularly through middle school and early high school, so I understand how it feels to not know what a 'normal' life is. All you know is the ******** your parents constantly tell you until you believe it is true.
    Assuming she does not file for emancipation or contact CPS - both of which we consider too risky because if either fails, she will be in an even worse situation than she is now. Her dad is extremely controlling and paranoid, so he will find out and do anything to stop it and we aren't sure if he has actually done anything illegal - he DOES care about her, regardless of being a horrible parent. Assuming neither of those options are taken, and she runs away after turning 17 (she lives in washington state), I am worried what kind of trouble I may get into even if she abhors her parents and she is better off working and helping me pay rent (this is her goal, I am trying to help her reach it). What is my situation? Would you be willing to call the police department in the town she lives to find out how 17 y/o runaways are treated? If I call, it is a small town and I will most certainly be recognized and do not want her dad to know where she is going.

    If you think there are any legal repercussions I have missed please make a note of it - seems like a first offense for her will not be a criminal charge, but her dad will get me for anything that he can and I think 'harboring a runaway' is some sort of criminal charge.


  • #2
    Reply: My 17 year old girlfriend wants to leave home

    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.

    We appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on.
    Some situations can be disappointing and even upsetting thus making things uncertain about what to do or where to turn.
    We understand and we want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance.
    You or your girlfriend are welcome to call and use our conference calling service to reach out to the local police there. You can feed us your questions and we can ask on your behalf.

    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) or

    NRS is here to listen and here to help. We will be happy to explore some options with you.

    We hope to hear from you soon.

    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!


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