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Running away at the age of 16

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  • Running away at the age of 16

    Running away from home at the age of 16 is it illegal?? If you run away from home at the age of 16 and the police find you can they make you go back home even if you dont want to?? I wanna run away from home for many reasons. But I dont wanna come back home. I have so many questions and concerns before I do it.

  • #2

    Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you want to leave home. While we are not legal experts at NRS, we can share some “rules of thumb:”

    We don’t know what state you are in, but “the age of majority” for most is 18 -- which is the age you legally have to be to leave home without your parent’s consent.
    It is not against the law to run away, but it is a status offense. If your parents file a runaway report and police know where you are, they could go to your location and require you to return home.
    If you stay with an adult, he or she could be charged with harboring a runaway -- which is against the law.

    So no, it’s not “illegal” to run away, but It’s important to think about how likely it is that your parents would file a runaway report if you were leave home. If they do this, there are some serious legal issues to consider as explained above.

    Please don’t hesitate to call us at the National Runaway Safeline if you’d like to discuss more about what’s going on at home or running away any further. You can reach us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


    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)

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