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Exploring options for a 16-year-old friend

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  • Exploring options for a 16-year-old friend

    Hi there! A dear friend of mine is a 16-year-old in Florida, and she is rapidly reaching a breaking point when it comes to her emotionally abusive and manipulative mother.

    My friend is currently suffering from depression and anxiety on top of generally crippling social anxiety and other issues related to Asperger syndrome, and her mother has cultivated and perpetuated an environment that exacerbates my friend's difficulties to the point that I'm seriously concerned for her health and safety.

    With a lot of this not-so-motherly behavior being entirely psychological and not easily provable, and a suggested low likelihood of her mother consenting to emancipation in the near future, my friend is regularly hopeless and desperate for some way to find a way out of that environment.

    Considering how frequently this environment contributes to significant self-harm and suicidal urges for my friend, I've asked her to consider running away instead if it ever gets to the point that she is seriously planning suicide. I am more than capable and prepared to provide housing and support for her, but I do live a few states away and am aware that harboring a runaway could be problematic from a legal standpoint.

    Running away is a last-resort option for her, but I'm trying to find other ways that she can pursue her own emancipation from that environment in a legitimate (and preferably quick) fashion or, if it should come to that, ways that we can protect her and myself in the event that her mother decides to take action.

    I realize this is probably something best discussed with an attorney as far as the details go, but I would appreciate any help in finding the various threads I can trace toward a solution for my friend. Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Exploring options for a 16-year-old friend

    Hello and thank you for writing on NRS' online forums. You express great concern for your friend and their safety. It sounds like the support you are providing them as well as the research you are doing for them is just what they need right now. From what you shared, it sounds scary and unsafe for your friend. If ever your friend is in any danger or their safety is at risk, they have the right to call emergency services (911) and report any abuse to child protective services. Your friend deserves to feel safe and protected.

    Seeking legal aid is often best when dealing with legal matters. We, unfortunately, cannot share any legal advice because we do not have legal expertise. However, what you shared about risks of running away is what we often share with others who reach out. Police handle runaway situations differently across states, cities, and sometimes even in counties. Interstate runaway cases may very well be handled differently from within state cases too.

    If your friend ever needed a safe place to turn to, the National Safe Place ( may be able to offer emergency housing for your friend until they can get further help. We also have a database of resources that may be helpful for your friend. We encourage you and your friend to reach out to us by phone or chat so that we may offer support and referrals. We are also mandated reporters and can help file a report with child protective services if your friend wished to do so.

    You inquired about a thread with more information. The following thread of posts and repsonses may offer some help as the thread shares some similar questions that you and your friend seem to have: http://bulletinboards.1800runaway.or...-me-to-go-back

    We hope this helps and wish your friend luck and wellness.


    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!


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