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Running Away at 15 to Another State

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  • Running Away at 15 to Another State

    I'm 15 years old and I've wanted to run away since I was 8 or 9. My mother is a narcissist and my father enables her and defends her terrible behavior. Hypothetically, if I were to run away with my boyfriend to his hometown in New Jersey (I live in Florida), what are the chances of getting caught? Will I be forced to return home?

  • #2
    Thanks so much for reaching out to NRS. It sounds like you’ve been feeling unhappy and frustrated with your parents’ behavior for a long time. It can be incredibly difficult to live with someone with a mental health or personality disorder, and it’s understandable that you’d be looking to get out of that environment.
    Although we’re not legal experts, until you turn 18 in both FL and NJ, you are considered a minor and need your parent or guardian’s legal permission to leave home. If you leave home without their permission, they can file a runaway report with the police, which gives police the right to bring you home. Running away is a statutory offense, which means you would not be arrested or charged with a crime, but since many areas have laws against harboring a runaway or transporting a minor across state lines, there could be a risk of legal consequences for any adults you stay with (like your boyfriend’s parents). Once you turn 18, you have the right to move freely without your parents’ permission.
    If your parents’ behavior is abusive, you have the right to report this abuse at any time. Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. A good resource is Child Help, a 24/7 anonymous hotline that can answer your questions and take an abuse report over the phone if you choose to report: 1-800-422-4453.
    It shows a lot of strength and maturity that you are researching all your options before you make your next move. We are here for you 24/7 if you’d like to talk more about your situation or brainstorm other options.
    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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