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Wanting to runaway (Minnesota resident)

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  • Wanting to runaway (Minnesota resident)

    I just turned sixteen and I have been abused by both my parents all my life. They have hit me, spanked me, slapped me, and have been over a physical at times. My mother constantly yells at me and will throw things and touch me innaproptiatly despite me having called CPS already. She took this call as an opportunity to continue verbally abusing me at every opportunity and calls me crazy and a liar. She won’t let me reach out to CPS again and has gone through all of my personal messages. She printed them out and has started to hand them out to medical proffessionals in an attempt to make me look guilty and her the victim. My mother has also taken all of my savings and has forced me into fearful compliance.

    My friend offered to let me move in with her but I’m not sure of my legal rights. If I runaway, will she be able to force me back into the abusive home? Will she be able to call the police and have them take me into custody? Would she be able to sue my friend’s mother for harboring a runaway? I have so many questions and not enough answers. Please help.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    It sounds like you’re going through a very difficult time at home. We want to honor the bravery you displayed by posting about your problems on our forum, and we hope we can help you out.

    It is very unfortunate that your mother has put her hands on you, and it is also upsetting that Abuse is never okay, and you should know that any abuse you’ve experienced is not your fault. If you want to unpack your feelings about anything that’s happened to you, or if you wish to file an abuse report, you can call us at 1-800-786-2929, or ChildHelp at 1-800-426-5678. You also may wish to reach out to friends or others you trust to unpack these feelings, as you deserve to have the opportunity to do so. It would make sense if you had a lot to talk about because of the experiences you’ve described to us.

    We are not legal experts, but we can give you general information about runaway laws. Running away from home is considered a status offense in most parts of the United States. This is different from a criminal offense, and makes it unlikely that someone will be arrested or detained by police for running away. When a youth runs away from home, their guardians can file a runaway report with the police, notifying the police that this youth has run away from home. If police search for a runaway youth and find them, or if they come into contact with a runaway under other circumstances, then the police are likely to return the youth home to their parents. If the runaway youth alleges their guardians abused them, then the police may choose to relocate the child into the foster system, or CPS may attempt to relocate the youth to a competent relative. Again, from what we know, a runaway report must be filed before police take action against a supposed runaway youth. Someone who houses a runaway youth can be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a criminal offense. From what we know, this may be a difficult charge to file against someone.

    You may want to ask these questions hypothetically and anonymously to your city’s local non-emergency police department. We can help you do this, or we can ask these questions to your police department for you. If you want us to do this, call us and explain your situation and ask us to call your non-emergency police department.

    Again, hopefully this message was helpful for you!
    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!


    • #3
      I was wondering if I got adopted and wanted to leave without permission would I be able to? And go live with a actual family member? I'm 16 and live in mn


      • ccsmod6
        ccsmod6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline.

        While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is not illegal to run away. Your legal guardians, in this case your adopted parents, could file a runaway report on you but this would NOT mean that you would get arrested or charged with anything. It typically does mean that the police could return you home if they encountered you and that would be that. Some police can be more understanding about what is going on at your home. In our experience, police will oftentimes return the youth back to their guardian almost no matter what. Police typically do not actively search for a runaway youth. However, they will go where the guardian directs them if they know where you are staying. Additionally, police can sometimes be more lenient about runaway situations the closer you are to 18. You can attempt to calmly, respectfully, and persistently deny them consent to touch you or take you anywhere, and they may give up on trying to return you home. They also may not, in which case you should comply with what they tell you to do for your safety.

        As far as we understand, your adopted parents would have to transfer custody over to your biological family members or give you permission to live with them to avoid any runaway situations.

        We know that these things can be pretty complicated so if you want to ask any other questions or talk through what you are experiencing with someone, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at

        Take care,
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