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Leaving home at 17

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  • Leaving home at 17

    Hi, I'm wondering if I could get some insight on how to deal with a situation. My girlfriend is living in a verbally abusive home where she is persecuted for being gay and her father has been known to get physical with her mother yet no police report has ever been filed. She wants to leave NC for her uncles home in Georgia where everything she need will be provided. She has graduated high school and has nothing keeping her home. My question is can she leave with her uncle at 17 if the situation in her home is "unfit" without having to necessarily get her parents entangled to deep with the police?

  • #2
    Re: Leaving home at 17


    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. We are very sorry to hear that your girlfriend is going through a rough time at home. No one should have to deal with any sort of abuse at home. It is understandable that she is considering going to Georgia to be with her uncle, especially since she has already finished school. It is great she has you as a support system and someone looking out for her. We are glad you contacted us today and we will do our best to answer your question.

    Since your girlfriend is under the age of 18, if she leaves home without the permission of her parents/legal guardian, she would be considered a runaway. At this point her parents have the right to do whatever they can to bring her back home. This means they can file a runaway report with the police to report that she left, and the police could bring you back home if they know where to find her. We are not legal experts but we do know that running away is just a status offense, which means that she cannot get into any legal trouble for running away. The only thing that police can do is bring her back home. Her parents also have the right to press charges against any adult that is ‘harboring a runaway’. This means that if she stays with someone that is 18 years old or older, like her uncle, her parents can press charges against her uncle for helping her run away.

    You mentioned that your girlfriend is being verbally abused and her mother is being physically abused. Her father is not allowed to abuse his family physically and emotionally. Your girlfriend and her mother have the right to report abuse to the police. We understand that it can be a scary thing to report abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great resource to call to get support. It is a 24/7 confidential hotline that connects you to a crisis counselor who can provide one-on-one support to each caller and chatter, offer crisis intervention, options for next steps and direct connection to sources for immediate safety. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-723.

    We hope this information has been useful. If you have any further questions about anything we talked about, we urge you or your girlfriend to give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are also a 24/7, confidential hotline and we can provide you support in any way you may need.

    We wish you the best of luck and hope to hear from you soon!
    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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