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

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  • Please help I am 14 and want to run away so badly my step dad is always drinking and verbally abusing my sister and I. He makes rude jokes about us and calls us fat for getting something for dinner and my mother just sits back and does nothing to help us. My dad and stepmom don't live too far so I wanted to run away to them and they would understand, but if my mother made a police report I don't want them getting in trouble I am really in a lot of mental pain cause so much stress and anxiety. Please help me!

    Comment


    • ccsmod9
      ccsmod9 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello,

      You mentioned some things that raise concern for your safety and well-being. If any harm or abuse is happening at home, you have the right to report it. We are not experts on the issue, but generally once it's been reported, social services will either decide whether or not to take the case and further investigate. If they do take the case, they will send out someone from child protective services to do an investigation (interviewing people in the household) and from there they will decide the level of danger within the household. It generally ranges from no danger (the youth stays in the home, some services are given, and the case is closed), moderate danger (they will provide family services with possible temporary displacement) and high danger (they will remove the youth from the home and offer certain services). It also 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.

      If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/. We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering.

      Please be safe and reach out soon by phone or chat so that we may help.
      Take care,
      NRS

  • I am a 14 year old living in NYC and want to runaway. Ever since i have been little my dad has been the most difficult person to deal with. When I was 13 I remember my parents arguing and then my dad hit my mother. I felt so angry for not being able to defend her. My mom is the best thing to have happened to my life because she has always guided me through tough times and I will always remember her for that. But I am just tired of my father coming home every other week drunk and yelling. My grades have been horrible and my father hit me for it. I love my sister as she has had to live with this for 20 years now. I believe that I can do better and have better grades if my father was not abusive and would not tell me that he doesn't like me. I want to leave my apartment peacefully but don't know what would happen to my mom. I don't want my mom to get in trouble because she has been the best mother someone can ask for. I need help because I do not know if I can last any longer being yelled at by my father. Sometimes I think about killing myself but later regret it because I know someone out there would love to have the education I do have. I just want to know where to go and what would happen to my parents if I were to runaway.

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi,
      Thanks for reaching out and sharing, and thank you for your question. It sounds like you have gone through some difficult experiences, but it’s great that you’re being proactive and asking for help.
      I’m sorry to hear that your father has hit you and members of your family. That’s totally inappropriate, and nobody deserves to be treated violently or verbally harassed. It takes a lot of courage to share your story, and it also takes courage to share that you have felt suicidal thoughts. We’re glad you shared and want to help however we can.
      As for your question, while we aren’t legal experts, your mother wouldn’t be in trouble legally if you ran away. Neither of your parents would be. Running away is not technically a crime. That said, your parents could file a runaway report, at which point law enforcement would likely pick you up and take you home.
      The important step you want to take before making the decision to runaway is to think realistically about your plan. For instance, you’ll want to think about where you will stay, if there are shelters available, how you’ll support yourself financially, and what you would do if approached by a stranger. These are all questions you’ll want to think through if you do decide to runaway.
      If you do not decide to run away, another option could be reporting abusive behavior. If this is something you’d be interested in, we encourage you to call in and discuss it over the phone, as we do not offer referrals via forum. You can call us toll free anytime at 1-800-786-2929, or speak with us online via chat.
      One last option that might be worth pursuing is talking to your mother about the situation. It sounds like you have a really great relationship, which is wonderful, and maybe she is somebody you can confide in and lean on. It might help to tell her the truth about how you’ve been feeling.
      Thanks again for your post. We’ll be here any time if you want to discuss anything in greater depth, and we are happy to help however we can.

  • I want to leave my house but im 14 . im constantly getting torn down by my family . my mom and brother are both narcissists and only ever yell and get mad at me . I don't know what to do anymore I cry myself to sleep almost every night and my brother is always threatening to slap me . I really need some help and don't know what to do anymore . its been building up for years and I can't take it .

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi. Thanks so much for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you’re going through quite a tough time. We can only imagine how challenging it must be having to cry yourself to sleep every night. Asking for help is such a brave thing and also a great first step. In regards to emotional support you may find therapy or support lines helpful because they can potentially provide you with new ways to cope with your living situation. The National Alliance on Mental Illness for instance is a good support line and can be contacted at 1800-950-NAMI. If you are interested in therapy referrals please feel free to give us a call. In addition, it may also be helpful to maybe try explaining to your parents about how their behavior makes you feel. If you need help on how to word or communicate certain things, this may be something NRS could help you with.
      If you are considering to leave home as you mentioned because you are 14 years old you are still considered in minor as in most states the age of majority is 18. Therefore, if you were to leave home 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. If you’d like to discuss options and go over possible scenarios please feel free to contact us at 1800-runaway or come chat with us at 1800runaway.org. All the best, NRS.

  • Hi, just know I’m thirteen years old, these last couple of weeks I’ve been really depressed and my parents just don’t listen to me I’ve done some things to myself I feel alone and at this point I wanna run away.
    Last edited by ccsmod4; 03-29-2019, 07:31 AM.

    Comment


    • Reply:Hi, just know i’m thirteen years old,

      Hello,
      Thank you for writing to us here at the National Runaway Safeline.

      We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. We would like to be of assistance to you if we can. It is times like these that would be nice to have a listening ear. It is also important that you remember to exercise self- care. You showed some by reaching out to NRS. Good for you.
      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 so that we might learn a little more about your situation and how we might assist you. 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).

      We hope to hear from you soon.

      Take care,
      NRS

      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: Your Opinion Matters to Us

      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
      info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
      1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

      Tell us what you think about your experience!
      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

      Comment


      • I wanna run away super bad and think i am bc i got caught with a boy in the house and im only 14

        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. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do. 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

      • So I have a moderate depressive disorder and i have been having thoughts of suicide along with running away. my best friend has basically turned on me. my mom yells at my constantly. sometimes for no reason, and im just having a rough 4 weeks is what im trying to say.

        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 sorry that you have been having a rough past four weeks. Having these thoughts can be difficult if not impossible to deal with alone. You mentioned having thoughts of suicide which is a very serious thing to think about. We want you to know you are very valuable and you are worth living. There is always someone willing to listen even if it does not seem that way. If you are ever thinking of suicide you can always call The National Suicide Prevention Line at: 1800-273-8255. Another option to consider is to try and talk to a school counselor or therapist about your thoughts, sometimes talking to a professional can help you feel better.
          We are not legal experts but do have general knowledge of the laws. If you were to leave home without permission your parents do have the right to file a runaway report. If the police found you, you most likely would not be in legal trouble but they would bring you home.
          We hope this information was helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore your options further please give us a call. We wish you the best of luck!
          NRS

      • I hate my mum each time I get told off she says she will beat the ******** out of me I hate it so I'm. gonna be on the run tomorrow

        Comment


        • ccsmod6
          ccsmod6 commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi, thanks for contacting National Runaway Safeline. It seems like you are going through quite a difficult time with your mother. It must not feel good to be spoken to this way by your mother and it is understandable that you are upset. We are sorry you are wanting to run away. We would hope that if things resorting to that you would have a safe plan and a safe place to go. It seems that you and your mother are not getting along and it may be beneficial to try to explore some ways to help improve things in your home. Just so that you are aware, we do have a conference call option here at NRS. If you would like to speak with your mother and let her know how you are feeling in hopes of resolving some of the issues you two may have, we are here to be a support and can conduct a 3-way call with you. Speaking with a parent who you are having issues with can be hard and we want you to know that you do not have to do it alone. You did not give much information about home life here but, if something like yelling and threatening happen very often between you and your mother that could be considered abuse. In the case that you are being abused at home we would like you to know that you have an option to report that abuse and have it investigated. This is something that is a sometimes difficult process and cannot be reversed if you were to pursue filing an abuse report so, we would want you to be as informed and prepared as possible. If you would like more information about that, it may be beneficial to inform her about Child Help. Child Help has a number of professionals who may be able to provide her with more information about that option and process. Their number is 1800-422-4453 and their website is childhelp.org. We would love to talk with you further and be of support to you. Please feel free to call us at any time or inform your girlfriend that she can call at 1800-RUNAWAY. Also, feel free to chat with us live by visiting our website 1800runaway.org. Best of luck.

      • My friend wants to run away. Would it be best if they said they left a note saying they were going to run, or would it be best if they made it seem like they got kiddnapped. Would they look more if they were "kiddnapped"

        Comment


        • ccsmod2
          ccsmod2 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline, we are always here to listen and to help! It sounds like your friend is really struggling, and it’s very kind and proactive of you to reach out on their behalf to ask for advice. Running away at age fourteen is not illegal, no; it is considered a status offense. It seems that your main concern is whether or not your friend will be looked for by the police after leaving home, and that can depend on a few things. If your friend’s legal guardian(s) believe that he/she has run away, they may decide to file a runaway report, and then the police will try to locate your friend. If they think your friend is kidnapped, they may also contact the police and get them involved in locating your friend. If your friend is feeling like they need to leave home and they want to talk through it or need support and resources, please let them know they can reach out to us, either by phone or via chat through our website- www.1800runaway.org, 1-800-RUNAWAY. We are here 24/7 to listen and help!

      • Can you please help me...i need to know weather i should run away or not...my parents are saying really hurtful things and threatening to slap and do other stuff if i don't get my head on straight. They said they are ashamed that i'm their child...btw i'm 12. Idk what i should do i have options and all of the things i need. Please help me. This has been going on for weeks and they have hit me hard before...i'm scared. PLEASE HELP!

        Comment


        • ccsmod10
          ccsmod10 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for telling us your story and reaching out. It can be difficult telling others what has happened to you. We want you to know that no one deserves to be physically or mentally abused and feel like they are ashamed of. You should not have to go through that. If you haven’t already, you could consider reporting the abuse you’ve been experiencing. If you want more information about abuse reporting or if you want to file a report, you could call Child Help at 1-800-422-4453 or call the police.

          We’re not legal experts here at NRS. Generally it’s not illegal to leave home, but your parents could file a runaway report, the police could get involved, and they could bring you home. The people you’re staying with could potentially get with harboring a minor if your parents file a report and choose to press charges.

          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 44357 the word “safe,” and your location 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.

          We would love to talk more about the details of your situation so that we can work towards a solution you find acceptable. If you would like to share more, please feel free to call our 24 hour hotline at 1-800Runaway (786-2929) or use our live chat. We hope this information was helpful and take care.

      • I'm 14 years old and my house is driving me insane, my little sister literally absuses me, my mom constantly makes me feel guilty for being possibly depressed and not wanting to talk to her about how I feel, I have anger issues and anxiety and she only makes it worse. She doesn't let me hang out with friends a lot because she's paranoid that I'll get raped by them or some rando on the streets but she says it's just because of her job so she knows what it's really like out there (she works as a therapist for like abused women) she tells me not to trust any one and that it doesn't matter how good someone is too you they can still rape you but yet she completely contradicts herself by saying that she wants me to be out there and explore the world, and that I have to trust her because she's my mom, and there are good people out there and they won't hurt you at all. It's really frustrating because she goes from not to one hundred real quick, like we'll have a really heated argument and then like a couple minutes later she'll come in my room and ask if I want anything or she'll make me or give me something and she constantly does it.

        Her boyfriend isn't a big help either, ya see me and my sister have two different dad's so yeah. My mom's boyfriend doesn't abused or anything but he just sheepishly goes along with she says and he'll say stuff to make me look like a bad person.

        I feel like I'm going insane, like I'm slowly but surely losing my sanity and I don't think I can take it anymore. I've tried attempting suicide but it's useless. I feel like my only escape now is too runaway and I've been planning it for years. I just need to leave my home because if I don't I feel like I'm going to snap sooner or later, more sooner than later, I don't know what to do.

        Comment


        • ccsmod15
          ccsmod15 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you’ve been going through such a tough time. That sounds so stressful to have all those things going on at home. We are here to support you and help you in any way we can.

          We want you to know that you are worth it and that there is hope for you. If you ever feel that you are in danger of hurting or killing yourself, you could call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255; suicidepreventionlifeline.org) or call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us online. There are always people here to support you. Also, if you ever feel that you are in danger, you could call 911 for immediate help.

          If you haven’t already, you could consider reaching out to a trusted adult, relative, worker/teacher/counselor at your school for help and support. You could also consider talking to your parents about how you’ve been feeling or having another trusted adult help you talk with them. Just so you’re aware, we have a conference calling service here where we could help mediate a conversation between you and your parents.

          You mentioned some struggles with depression and mental health concerns. If you want further information about mental health resources, you could check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); 1-877-726-4727; samhsa.gov; findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.

          It sounds like all of your struggles are making you consider leaving home. If you do decide to leave home, you could consider thinking about ways to make sure you stay safe. You could explore ways you would pay for food, shelter, clothing and other necessary things. You could think about how long you would stay away, where you would stay, and what things would be like when you return. You could consider what you would do if you felt that you were in danger or had an emergency.

          There are also many resources that could help you with anything else you may need. If you want to talk more about what’s been going on, or if you would like more information about resources, you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us online.

          Again, thank you for contacting us. It sounds like you’ve been going through a really hard time, but you’ve shown a lot of strength by working through these challenges and reaching out for help. If you ever need anything in the future, please feel free to call us or chat with us online. We’re always here to listen and here to help.

      • Hi i am bisexual but the thing is my mom doesn’t accept me and worst of all she hates it my dad just follows her and doesn’t do anything except agree with her and the rest of my relatives are very religious too I can’t live with them anymore I’m scared she will try to get “rid”of my bisexual by making me go see a priest and forbidding me to see my friends and also I’ve had a girlfriend but we can’t date cause my parents are getting suspicious

        Comment


        • ccsmod7
          ccsmod7 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. You made a great first step to finding the help that you may need. It sounds like you are going through a lot and your parents are not being supportive of you identifying as bisexual. That has to feel pretty invalidating. You so deserve to be treated with respect, to experience acceptance and to feel safe.

          We want you to know that you are strong for having gone through so much already. It is perfectly okay to deviate from what others or the common population believe to be “normal”. It sounds like your parents are making you see a priest possibly for "conversion therapy" which has proven to be pretty harmful to the LGBTQ community. Please know that no matter what they tell you,you are not any lesser than anyone else, and being bi is totally okay. You should be loved and cherished for who you are, and you do not need to change anything about you.

          You’re bravery and resilience is so admirable. You are so strong for having gone through so much without having the acceptance that you do deserve for just being you. Remember that you are not alone. If you ever want to talk more about what you are experiencing or get additional support we are here 24/7 at 1800-RUNAWAY or our live chat service. The GLBT National Hotline at 1888-843-4564 is another option to gain great support from those that are familiar with the issues and experiences of those that are also a part of the LGBTQ community. You can access their website link bellow to utilize all the other possibly useful resources they have to offer: http://www.glbthotline.org/

          If you can give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY or reach out through Live Chat we can try to find some youth shelters that may be near your city and state by utilizing our database of resources. We can also try to call out to shelters with you or on your behalf to advocate for you.

          Best,

          NRS

      • I’m 14 and I ran away from home because my parents just wouldn’t understand me.. I live in Georgia and I want to know what would happen if my parents called the police and what kind of trouble I would be getting in.. Also the person I’m staying with

        Comment


        • ccsmod2
          ccsmod2 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It takes a lot of courage to seek help, and we are happy you did.
          We are by no means legal experts, but what we do know is that because of your age (minor) your legal guardians could file a runaway report. This means that if you were to encounter law enforcement of any kind, they would legally have to return you home. Your legal guardians could also press charges “harboring a runaway” against the place you are staying.
          Each person’s situation is different and we would be happy to explore more via chat or over the phone. You can give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929.

          Best of luck,
          NRS
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