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Is it illegal to runaway when you're 14? what can happen?

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  • I am 14 years old. I live in Wisconsin. I want to run away with a friend who I meet. He is 17. We both hate our living situations. I have done some really stupid stuff lately so my mom doesn’t trust me. Can I run away with my friend?

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi. Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you are unhappy with your living situation and trying to explore alternative options. We are not legal experts however In Wisconsin, you are still considered a minor at the age of 14. Therefore you would need parental consent in order to leave home. If you do decide to runaway you might want to consider your safety, where you’ll live and how you’ll support yourself. However, it might also be helpful to know that if you do decide to runaway, your parents have the right to file a runaway report. If a runaway reported is filed and you are found by the police, you may be required to return back home. We hope this was helpful. Thanks again for reaching out. If you would like to discuss your situation further please do not hesitate to reach back out to us via phone at 1800-runaway or our chat at 1800-runaway.org. We are always here to help 24 hours, 7 days a week.

  • I hate everyone in my family I have nobody to talk to my parents constantly say ******** about me and I want them to be gone like it's to the point where I don't even care if they get hurt they annoy me so much I want to runaway but I can't and I want to wait until I'm 18 but part of me says leave and I just can't I really hate my family ugh my friends are the only people I care about :/

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there! Thanks for reaching out to us at NRS and telling us a bit about what you’ve been going through. It sounds like you’re having a really tough time at home. We are here to listen and help the best way we can.
      You mentioned that you want to leave home. We aren’t legal experts but we can give you some general info. If you leave home without your parents’ permission, they could file a runaway report. Running away isn’t a criminal offence so you can’t be arrested for that. But if the police find you, they will in most cases return you to your parents. If you are staying with someone who knows your circumstances, they might be charged with harboring a runaway (which is a criminal offence).
      If you choose to leave home, your safety is the most important priority. It’s also good to have a plan to help you stay safe. Have you thought about what you would do if you left home (food, a place to stay, going to school)? There might also be other options that might be available depending on your situation. If you want to discuss what options might be available to you, you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY or you can reach out to us on our chat lines at www.runaway.org. We hope to hear from you soon. Good luck and stay strong!

  • Hi I’m 16 years old and I have a different situation than u guys are probably used to... I live at home with my mom dad brother and sister, and my parents care about me a lot. I made one bad decision and stole alcohol from a store for some of my friends... they understandable freaked out, but they think that I am going down a bad path towards drugs and such... I know who I am and I’m not a bad kid I just made one bad decision which I now regret and won’t ever do again. As a result of this, my parents are now pulling me out of my school, taking away my car, phone, computer and all means of contacting anyone. I’m gonna be homeschooled for a little bit and then we are moving across the country to somewhere completely new... they think this is the right decision even though I’ve told them it’s not and they’re ripping my whole life apart... I know this situation is not as serious as some of the other ones I’ve seen but I have to get out of here before my life gets ruined... they love me but they don’t know what they’re doing and I’ve told them it’s gknna mentally kill me but they don’t care. What should I do

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    • ccsmod5
      ccsmod5 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to NRS for help! From what you have shared, it sounds like you are in a stressful situation but are doing your best to navigate it. It is very mature of you that you have acknowledged that you made a bad decision and understand why your parents have reacted to it the way they did. But it is also understandable that you feel upset and scared by the way they are responding to this incident. It must be really overwhelming to have so much change forced onto you so suddenly. If you were to leave without your parents’ permission, they can file a runaway report. Running away is not illegal, but if police found you they would take you back to your parents. You could try talking to your parents and tell them you understand you made a mistake. Possibly they would be open to letting you stay in school where you currently live if you follow certain expectations and rules that they give you. Talking to your parents in these situations can be really difficult, so you could ask for help from someone your parents trust. We can also do a conference call between you and your parents to facilitate a productive conversation and advocate for your needs. If you need someone to talk to or want to explore options, we are here 24/7 to listen and help at 1-800-786-2929.

  • im transgender
    ftm
    my parents wont let me buy boys clothes and keep saying ill always be a girl
    they think my lgbt friends forced me go be this way but that isnt true
    im a boy
    i cant handle being the wrong gender anymore and all i want to do is die
    but my mom says she cares about me alot and so she will never give me up
    i have a house i can go to but its not legal because im 13
    i need to escape for my life

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for reaching out to us at NRS. It sounds like you’re dealing with a very difficult situation with your parents. It’s important to believe in yourself. Living in a family that is not supportive of your gender and how you want to express yourself is not right. People can have difficulty accepting your gender, but that is not a reflection on you, but them.

      Regarding your first question: We're not legal experts, but from what we do understand, it is not technically a matter of legality, the issue of running away. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense in some states. So, if you did run away and the police found you, most likely they would return you to your guardians, which would be your parents.

      One thing that may be helpful is to talk to others who can understand your situation and be of support. The Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860 is an important resource. Another resource is the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. They support LGBTQ youth who are struggling with challenges environments and facing obstacles that shake their mental health.

      It takes courage to reach out and we’re glad you wrote to the National Runaway Safeline. We are staffed to receive calls 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). If you want to call, we can talk further about living at home and any strategies for making changes. We are also available by chat every day. Thank you and good luck.

      -NRS

  • So I had hard situations I'm only 15 about to be 16 in march but do what should I do if my step dad is telling me the only way to relieve stress is to masturbate and touch myself and telling me that's the only thing he knows that will help I'm worried he's gonna try to do sum to me if I run away what would happen ??

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there. Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline and sharing part of your story with us. It sounds like you’re in a situation at home that makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s understandable that you would be thinking of running away especially if you do not feel safe. We don’t have a legal background here but here but in most states in order to leave home without parental consent you must be at least 18 years old. If you do decide to leave without permission your parents have the right to file a runaway report. If a runaway report is filed and you are found then you may be required to return back home. You may also consider reporting to a trusted adult that your step father makes you feel uncomfortable and if you feel unsafe you may also consider filing an abuse report with child protective services. Please feel free to give us a call if you need assistance with doing that. In addition, you may also want to consider reaching out to the RAIIN hotline at 1800-656-4673. They be able to provide helpful tips on how to stay safe in your own home if this problem persists. We wish you the very best of luck and hope you are safe. If you want to discuss further please give us a call at 1800-runaway or come chat at 1800runaway.org. Thanks again, take care.

  • I can’t explain why I feel like this. There’s times where I wanna runaway from everything. I’m 14 years old and my home doesn’t feel like home anymore. My parents say things that bring me down and I try telling them to stop but who will ever listen to a 14 year old. I think suicid thoughts and cry myself to sleep sometimes people notice a change in me but I never tell cause I know deep down they won’t care. So I’m thinking of running away and leaving everything behind. I’ve cut my wrist before and I hide the scares with my jacket I never take it off. I just want my old life back where I was happy Is that to much to ask for.

    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 really difficult time right now. We want you to know that your life is valuable and worth living for! If you are ever feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to there is always someone who is willing to listen and provide support. If you are ever feeling suicidal you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Line at: 1800-273-8255. And you also mentioned that your parents do not listen to you, at NRS we offer conference calling. If you call us we can call out to your parents and we would be able to help support and mediate the conversation. Also you mentioned self-harming. Self-harming can be dangerous. A safer option could be to put a rubber band on your wrist and pull it every time you feel like harming yourself.
      You also mentioned running away. We are not legal experts but do have general knowledge of the laws. Running away is not a criminal offense it is a status offense. What that means is that if you were to run away if the police found you they would most likely bring you back home. You could consider asking your parents if you can stay with a friend or family member. Also you can try some coping skills, whenever you are feeling like running away or sad you can try writing in a journal, taking deep breaths, and going on a walk.
      We hope this information will be helpful in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to talk more please feel free to give us a call we are here 24/7. We wish you the best of luck!
      NRS

  • my friend is having a hard time at home and she wants to run away but she doesn’t want to be alone so she asked if i could run away with her...

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello there,

      Thank you for reaching out to NRS and advocating for your friend. We are sorry to hear about your situation and what you’ve been dealing with. Ideally, home would be a place where people feel safe, loved, and valued, and she does not deserve to be treated that way. You’ve been very courageous to reach out for help for yourself and your friend.

      Although NRS is not a legal agency, we can try to give a general idea of possible outcomes if you and your friend were to run away. If you two are considered minors in your state, you both are still under your parents’ guardianship, therefore at any point when you are gone, they are legally within their rights to file a runaway report. Being a runaway is a status offense, and while you would not be charged with a crime, if police came across you, they would probably return you home. Guardians could also potentially press charges against people who took you into their care for “harboring a runaway;” these charges would be misdemeanors, but still criminal offenses.

      That said, often the streets are the most dangerous place for a youth and it could be worthwhile to explore other options, such as conflict mediation, reaching out to school personnel if possible, and contacting social services. If your friend is unsafe at home, and if she wanted to talk more about child abuse reporting or wanted support, Child Help (National Child Abuse Hotline) could be a resource for learning what reporting would look like. They are accessible by phone at 1-800-422-4453 and online at childhelp.org.

      We would love to talk more about the details of your situation so that we can work towards a solution that you find acceptable. If you would like to share more, please feel free to call our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or use our Live Chat.
      We hope this information was helpful and take care.
      National Runaway Safeline
      [email protected] (Crisis Email)
      1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

  • Ok so my parents want to ground me for something I didn’t do and not listen to me whenever I try to tell them I didn’t do anything they just ignore me and call it a lie and from most of the years I lived with them it never seemed to me that they actually cared or loved me they say it but don’t ever show it they never want to hear what I have to say and always call it a lie and they treat me like I am worthless and it’s getting to the point to where I want to do self harm and die or run away what should I do?

    Comment


    • 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. . It sounds like you’re fearing that the situation may end in suicide if things don’t change. Your safety and well-being is important. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org is also a great resource to reach out to in addition to our crisis services.
      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); 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

  • A lot of stuff happened with a boy at my school. The police were involved and I was self harming a lot. Now, my mum is threatening to take away my free time and self harm if I carry on. I can’t live without self harm and I can’t survive without my freedom. I’m 15. What happens if I run away?

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi, thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you’re going through a very difficult situation. Relationships are complex and struggling with them is normal and not something that you should feel bad about yourself for. It sounds like use of self-harm is one of your ways of coping with tough situations. It sounds like your mom may be worried that the self-harm can be dangerous for you. If it possible, maybe you can consider other effective and less dangerous ways of coping with difficult situations. Such as counseling, exercising, writing, or play an instrument. There may also be less dangerous ways of implementing self – harm. You may find some helpful resources at https://us.ditchthelabel.org/15-safe...-to-self-harm/ or at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-8255. In addition, although we aren’t legal experts. In most states you must be at least 18 years old in order to leave home with consent from a parent or legal guardian. If you do decide to leave without permission your parents have the right to file a runaway report. If a runaway report is filed and you are found, you may be required to return back home. Some helpful things to think about if you are considering running away might be where you’ll go, how you’ll provide for yourself and how you’ll keep yourself safe. Please feel free to contact us via phone at 1800-runaway or via chat 1800runaway.org if you’d like to discuss your situation further. All the best, NRS.

  • my mother and grandparents don’t understand the fact that i don’t believe in god and say i should be ashamed for it. i want to run away to my dads house but i don’t know if he’ll understand either. my mom says that i’m being selfish because i don’t go to church when she does and is mad at me. i also get bullied in school and only have one friend who actually cares if i run away and i feel like i can’t because he doesn’t have many friends either and his mothers boyfriend is abusing her and he tries to stop him and gets hurt. recently his mother was discouraging his cousin for being gay and since he didn’t want to get into an argument with her he just didn’t defend anyone, so she proceeded to call him gay even though he is not. I want to just get away from everything and runaway but i feel like i need to be there for him and i don’t know what to do. please help

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there! Thanks for reaching out and telling us what’s been going on. It sounds like you’re having a rough time at home and school. No one deserves to be bullied or made to feel unsafe. We’re sorry to hear that you’re having to going through this.
      It sounds like you’re thinking about living with your dad. Have you talked with him about how you feel and if he would be open to this? Opening up to someone about what you’re going through can be scary. But dealing with all of this on your own can be isolating and hard. One option we offer is conference calling. This would be a conversation between you and either your mom or dad. Sometimes it helps to have a neutral third party to mediate the conversation and keep it productive. We would set some ground rules beforehand like no yelling, interrupting, or name calling. If this is something you’d be interested in, you can give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY.
      There might be other options depending on your situation. If you’d like to explore those options, you can call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or chat with us online at www.RUANWAY.org. You also mentioned that your friend is experiencing abuse at home. If he wants to call or chat with us, we may be able to help him talk about his options as well. We’re here to listen and help the best way we can. We hope to hear from you soon. Stay strong and safe!

  • I am 13 years old and even though I am very young I feel like I want to die but I'm afraid. I'm afraid of the rumors that may come. I'm afraid of disappointing my mum even though she is apart of the reason why. I'm afraid of being a coward. I'm afraid of not going to heaven. I'm just so tired of trying to be perfect when I know it's impossible. I'm so done with trying to be that perfect student with the perfect grades. Or trying to be that popular girl with the flawless skin. I've tried to be the little girl my mom wish would come back. The one who smiled and was independent. Who didn't need the affection of random men online to feel confidence , to have self love , to be considered perfect , to fill in the space that I wish my father was there , and to be the girl I know I've lost. I try to fit in with the it. Crowd but I'm just too weird. I shared nude photos to men online to get rewarding compliments because no can't do the same for me. I just want true friends even if it's just one. To love myself. To not feel the need to be needed because it afraid of abandonment. Doctors saw I'm depressed and I have anxiety and that I have insomnia. To which I say it is true....but I don't want to come off as a victim. Because they were my choices.I sent a photo to a boy at my school and I've blew it...I just can't make up my mind weather to love or hate myself....I'm just so tried with being the middle. Should I go or should I stay? Should I say yes or should I say no? Should I be perfect or imperfect? But truth is I feel alive and dead at the same time. I'm loosing myself...and I don't know how to stop it. I wanna run...but I just want to see if I should wait....

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to us. We’re sorry you feel so afraid and are going through such a difficult situation with your mom at this time. You’re not alone in feeling tired with trying to live up to every ones expectations. Although it may feel like it right now, and you may be really frustrated, your life is important and you matter. If you think there’s any chance you might hurt yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at1-800-273-8255 or 911 to talk to someone right away.

      It sounds like you have experienced big changes in your life and it can be difficult and overwhelming to handle how you feel. You mentioned depression, insomnia, anxiety, and feeling like you are losing yourself. If you’re not currently getting mental health resources, it can be really helpful to get treatment. As your mental health suffers, you have limited ability to handle the other stressors in your life. You can contact Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to connect you to mental health resources at 1-877-726-4727 or samhsa.gov.
      School can also be a good resource for finding counselors and making new friends. You could try getting involved with school activates to meet new people. You mentioned you sent a photo to a boy at school and how you “blew it.” If this is a case of bullying you can always report it to your school or even the police. Loveisrespect.org is also a website that provides support for teens who have questions about relationships and what to do if boundaries are crossed.

      If you are thinking about running away there could be resources in your area that can help. We’re not legal experts here at NRS. Generally it’s not illegal to leave home, but your mom could file a runaway report, the police could get involved, and they could bring you home. Anyone you’re staying with could potentially get charged with “harboring.”
      Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do. If you don’t feel safe and feel like you need to get away Nationalsafeplace.org 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 69866 the word “safe,” and your location (Ex:69866ChicagoSafe) 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.

      Hopefully this information we provided helps. If you’d like to talk more about what’s going on, or would like some help figuring out other options, please give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY or chat with us anytime at 1800runaway.org.
      Wishing you the best
      -NRS

  • Hello! I had recently written to y'all in October of 2018. My situation at home has gotten worse. I know that my parents love me and are trying to help me because I am still not having good grades in school. Tonight, my father said that if I get one more missing assignment at school then I won´t get to eat, shower or sleep until ALL of my work is complete. They have recently gotten a device that can control what I do on my Chromebook and they can see what websites I get on. The problem is that I have trouble focusing without music because as soon as I am alone with my thoughts, all I can think about is suicide and trying to run away. So to keep my mind of of things I read stories on different apps and websites. I can never focus on doing my homework or schoolwork for the fact that I can never get into it. If I do not enjoy doing something my focus ends up faltering. I don´t know what to do. Anymore, all I want to do is die. I have also started to pick up bad habits that I know if my parents catch me doing, I will be dead. One of those habits is I vape. I don´t know what to do. Please help me.

    Comment


    • 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. It must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension and where they restrict and monitor so much of what you do. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

      You mentioned that you have previously had thoughts of suicide. You do not have to face this alone, and there is so much help out there for you. We care a lot about your safety, and we can help you find resources that can help you cope with these feelings. If you are thinking about hurting yourself, you can reach out to the following agencies for some extra support:

      National Suicide Hotline:1-800-273-8255 - suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

      Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA): 1-877-726-4727 – samhsa.gov

      National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264 – name.org

      It might be a good idea to try to talk to your parents about the problems that you’ve been having when trying to concentrate on school work and to brainstorm ways to help (tutoring, etc.). If you’d like some help, you can always call in and we can mediate a conference call between you and your parents. You can also try reaching out to a school counselor or a trusted family member for some additional support.

      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,
      NRS

  • I’m 14 and I live in Nevada and I want to run away for certain reason I rather not say my boyfriend who is 19 and knows my family is okay with us running away what’ll happen if the police finds out? What would be the consequences for him

    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. We are not legal experts but we are glad you reached out to us and we will do our best to help. Because you are 14 years old you are still considered a minor which means if you were to runaway your parents have the right to file a runaway report. If the police found you they would most likely bring you back home if they deemed it was safe. If they thought your home was not safe they would bring you to a family member or find alternate care for you. The consequences for your boyfriend could be harboring a runaway, which could be a fine or in some cases a year in jail. Also he could possibly get in trouble because in Nevada you are not at the age of legal consent, so he could get in more legal trouble. To find the best answer you could call your non-emergency police department and ask how they would handle this situation. If you would like to call us we can also call out to the police department and ask on your behalf.
      We hope this information was helpful 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. We wish you the best of luck!
      NRS

  • i really dont know what to do... i havent been to school in like 3 months cuz of drug problems and i just want to run away but i have no where to go. my mom and stepdad verbally abuse me and i dont care anymore. i am sad most of the time but my mom doesnt really care and i just want to leave or something. my life is messed up and its my fault. i just miss the old times where i could do my drugs with no worries.

    Comment


    • 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. 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. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon. However some good resources to check out are SAMHSA which is an organization that helps with drug abuse and mental health issues. We know mental health often can be significantly hard to go through when you feel alone. Their number is (877-726-4727)
      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.
      We hope to hear from you soon.
      Be safe, NRS

  • I’m 14 and I really want to run away.My parents are really strict about grades and I just got a really bad grade in an upcoming report card. I already have a place to go but I just want to know when I should leave and what I should bring with me.It will take me about 24 hours to get to the place I’m wanting to go

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi,
      Thanks for reaching out to us. We’re sorry you’re going through such a difficult situation. It’s difficult when parents put unnecessary pressure on getting high grades.
      While we’re not legal experts, running away is not illegal. If you were found by the police you would not be held by them or arrested on your first status offense. Instead, you would be returned to your parents or legal guardian, likely with a fine.
      It’s great that you’ve thought some things through. We’d like to help you even more if we can. Please give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY or chat with us at 1800runaway.org. We’re on your side and are completely confidential. So if you’d like to go over more of your options and form a plan, we’re here to help.
      Please feel free to reach out 24/7.
      We wish you the best!
      -NRS
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