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  • Runaway

    I am 13 years old and my parents hate me,I wanna run away to my boyfriends house,his dads ok with the idea.But will he have any legal issues for letting me stay there and i have a feeling my parents will call the police and say I am a runaway.Will the police look for me?? Again with the law issue I live in Florida

  • #2
    Hello there –

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reach out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline and posting on our public forum. By helping you during your crisis, hopefully there are other youth that are in similar situations can read this for help as well.

    Looks like you have a very specific question about running away from home. Like you have seen in a lot of our post here, we aren’t legal experts by any means and cannot tell you exactly what will happen. We go based on what we hear from callers and reaching out to local police. From our knowledge of the runaway laws, it isn’t a crime to run away from home and is viewed as a status offense. So nothing will happen to someone that runs away other than being brought back home, but if there was certain circumstances (ie. probation, prior legal trouble, habitual runaway, missed court dates, etc) then it would be a different story. Those charges will most likely follow up even after you turned 18. If a youth has just runaway and turned 18, that report will not count anymore since they would be considered an adult.

    Now if your parents did file a runaway report, they can choose to press charges on those for harboring a runaway. Harboring a runaway is when that party is not giving accurate information on a runaway’s whereabouts. That could lead to a number of different legal issues such as misdemeanor charges (fines or jail charges). From what we know it isn’t something that typically happens, but it is in place to detour individuals from helping runaway minors from not returning home or lying on a runaway’s behalf. It just comes down to how hard your parents would want to press those charges.

    It’s hard to talk too just anyone one about what has been going on. Please rest assured that we are completing confidential. So anything that you share with us will stay between us. We don’t ask for any identifying information, unless you want to report any abuse. We certainly want to help you.

    Hope that answer helps!
    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'm 16 and my dad and I have had rough spots. Lately my dad won't let me do anything and I am always grounded. He has threatened to make me quit work and has raised his hand to me. He has also yanked on my shirt and yelled in my face many times. I am scared he is going to hit me. I feel mentally abused and drained form this. I want to leave but I don't want any legal issues. What so I do? Also, I live in the state of Indiana.


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there, Thanks for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline and sharing a little bit about what is going. It takes a lot of courage to reach out and especially in a time where you have a really tough and complex situation at home. If you feel that you are experiencing abuse, you do have the right to report the abuse to Child Help at 1-800-422-4453. You can either do it yourself or call into us directly and we can support you through it. It is hard to say the result of reporting, but if you call in you can ask what the process might look like.
        We aren’t legal experts, but we have general knowledge about running away. In most states, running away isn’t illegal, but what is called a status offense. You can’t get arrested for it but it will mostly likely go on your record until you are 18. The police will only know if you have runaway if your parents/guardians file a police report. We can’t say for sure how the police will respond, but we hear a lot that police will take potential places you might be and will actively search for you. If they come across you, the most likely will return you home to your parents. Sometimes we hear that if you are staying with someone who knows you are a runaway and are not actively trying to return you or finding shelter for you, your guardians/or police can press charges against the people who are housing you, with something that is called harboring. One of our main goals is to make sure you are safe, so if you ever seriously decide to run away and need shelter, resources, or a safe place to go you can find safe locations at or reach out to us directly and we can find local resources in your area.
        Also another way you can seek help is reaching out to a friend, teacher, or counselor at school that can help you look for resources. Your mental health is important. You can also look at SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) at (call them directly at 1-877-726-4727) or NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-NAMI to help you find the support that you need. If you do ever feel in direct danger, to yourself, or some else makes you feel that way, please call out to 911 or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
        We are here for you and will support you in anyway that we can. Please feel free to call into us directly as we can talk further about your situation and find resources that are best for you in your area. Stay strong and you are not alone in this! Our hotline ( 1-800-RUNAWAY) and chat are open 24/7.
        Last edited by ccsmod3; 12-26-2018, 11:22 PM.
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