No announcement yet.

What legal action could be taken against a 14-year old runaway?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What legal action could be taken against a 14-year old runaway?

    Hello, I am fourteen years old and will be running away. The main reason is that I am suicidal mostly due to the school environment (I've already determined that this can't be resolved). My family is not abusive or neglecting, although they do not care about me. This is purposeful; I want the burden to be lighter when I leave. In order to run away, I will be leaving school grounds early in the morning and going to an area away from the city that is relatively safe (compared to other places I could go). I will carry a backpack, which worried me at first because people may ask about skipping school, but I've decided to cover it in a disposable garbage bag, which will solve that issue and keep any rain off of it. In addition, I will be wearing a black rain jacket with the hood up. This will most likely allow me to appear as a homeless individual, which would make my escape eaier.
    The only thing I still have to worry about is legal action. I haven't looked into it heavily, but in my state, it is illegal for a minor to run away from home. Besides bringing me back, what could law enforcement due if they happen to catch me?

  • #2
    Re: What legal action could be taken against a 14-year old runaway?

    Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline - we’re glad you found us. It sounds like you’re being very mature about thinking through all of the important considerations around leaving home. We’re sorry to hear that you’re feeling unsupported at home and at school – it’s understandable that you’d be exploring your options outside the home to ensure that you are happier and healthier.

    Running away is a big decision, and it’s clear that you’re thinking through risks and potential consequences. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but we can speak in general terms about some of the legal risks you’ve mentioned. Running away isn’t a crime – it’s a status offense, meaning it’s only not allowed because of your age. Your parents are legally responsible for taking care of you until you reach the age of majority (adulthood), which is 18 in most states. That means they have the right to file a runaway report with the police when they realize you’ve left home. If your parents file the report and the the police were to find you, they would simply bring you back home. You wouldn’t go to juvie or jail unless you are on probation or were doing something illegal when they found you.

    It sounds like you’ve thought through how you’d leave in great detail and have thought through your plan down to the fine details (like the trash bag on the backpack). If you’d like to talk through your plan for how you’d support yourself, eat, stay safe, grab a shower when needed, continue your education, etc. once you do get away, we’re here for you 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929 or via our online chat service. There’s a lot to think through, and we’re happy to connect you with whatever resources are out there to help you stay safe as you execute your plan. We’re on your team and are here to help in whatever way we can. Best of luck to you and don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss your plan in detail.

    Stay Strong,
    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)


    Previously entered content was automatically saved. Restore or Discard.
    Insert: Thumbnail Small Medium Large Fullsize Remove  
    or Allowed Filetypes: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, webp