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I’m 16 and I need to get out

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  • I’m 16 and I need to get out

    My parents verbally abuse me and lock me in my room without food or water if my school grades ain’t live up to their expectations. Today we got into a fight and my father physically abused me, I’m 16 and in North Carolina and and now planning to run away. I was wondering if police will try to find me by tracking my phone or if it is safe to bring it with me and just use public WiFi. I was also wondering if I should take the car me and my siblings share of if that would make it easier for me to be tracked. I’m currently planning on leaving the city and going to another one 200 miles away.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thanks for taking the time to write us here at NRS. It can certainly be stressful at home when the adults in the household are not supportive. From what you shared, it sounds like your parents are making home quite dangerous for you and you do not deserve that. Abuse of any kind is never okay and not your fault. Doing your own research while thinking about the decision to leave is really responsible and resourceful.

    Generally speaking, your parents are your legal guardians until you turn 18, so they can decide where you live. If you do choose to leave without permission, your parents can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that if your parents know where you are staying then they can have the police return you home. There is a possibility police might attempt to use your phone to track you but it is hard to say for sure. Police protocol for runaways can vary by police department and can often depend on the effort put in by parents to have their child returned home. You are the expert in your situation and you know what is best for you. Leaving home before 18 can always come with some risk.

    The easiest way to leave home as a minor is with your parents’ permission. In this case, they would be allowing you to live somewhere else where you are safe and being cared for. A helpful step is to start reaching out to friends and family members you might be able to stay with. Sometimes having an adult advocate on your side can make communicating your needs more effective to your parents. Perhaps an adult family member, a friend's parent or a counselor at school can talk to your parents with you about your experience at home and the possibility of you leaving.

    You do have the right to report the abuse at home to get social services involved to help. Child Help is an organization that advocates for young people in abusive and unhealthy situations. You can contact them at 1-800-422-4453 or go to to talk more about what the reporting process will look like for you.

    We truly want to be a support for you as you decide on your next steps. We are available 24/7 to listen and help as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out again by phone or chat if you would like to talk more in-depth about your situation and explore your options. You can contact us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at

    Stay safe,
    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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